Effect of material and time of refilling on the growth, plant population and grain yield of maize under no-tillage system

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Low plant densities of maize are often observed on maize fields, especially in no-till farmers’ field and this may be partly due to low seeding rate or poor seedling emergence. A 2x3 factorial experiment in randomized complete block design with 4 replications was carried out at Wioso in the Atwima Nwabiagya district during the major season of 2007.The objectives of the study were to determine the right period of refilling maize field and the comparative effect of refilling with seed and seedling on the growth, optimum population density, and yield of maize. The factors were material for refill, which was either seeds or seedlings, and time of refilling either at 5, 10, and 15 days after planting. The results showed that refilling with seedlings produced the greatest effect in the number of leaves per plant, leaf length, leaf diameter, and plant height and stem girth. Furthermore, refilling with seedlings contributed more to the optimum plant population density. Total grain yield when seedlings were used as refill was 967kg more per hectare than when seeds were used as refill material. On the other hand, plants from seeds refill were weak, lodged more and allowed much solar radiation penetration to the ground. Grain yield from seed refill plants was 6%, whilst seedling refill plants contributed 34% to the total grain yield. Refilled at 5 days after planting induced greater growth than 10 or 15 days after planting, however, this could not be translated into grain yield. The results indicate that it is possible to do refilling in maize field by using seedling and this contributes more than the traditional method of using seeds.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, in partial fulfillment of the requirement to the degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE (Msc.), 2009