Influence of planting methods on root development, crop productivity and water use efficiency in maize hybrids

Muhammad B. Khan1, Farhan Yousaf1, Mubshar Hussain1,2, Muhammad W. Haq1, Dong J. Lee2, Muhammad Farooq3*

Optimum planting methods better ensure water and nutrient supply through improved root development resulting in better crop growth and productivity. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of planting methods on root development, crop allometry, water use efficiency (WUE), productivity and economic returns of different maize (Zea mays L.) hybrids. Maize hybrids NK-6621, Pioneer-30Y87, and Pioneer-30Y58 were sown on beds, ridges, and flat surface. Ridge sowing was better followed by bed sowing; while amongst the hybrids, ‘Pioneer-30Y87’ performed the best. Well-developed root system, with longer primary root, more number of lateral roots and higher root growth rate, was observed in ‘Pioneer-30Y87’ planted on ridges, which led to higher WUE, grain yield and its related traits. The same hybrid exhibited higher leaf area index and crop growth rate, and maximum net return and benefit:cost ratio sowed on ridges. Overall, the ridge sowing improved root development resulting in better allometry, productivity (5.45 t ha-1), and WUE (1.345 kg m-3), in all the maize hybrids. Although maize hybrids exhibited different response to different planting methods; maximum grain yield (5.63 t ha-1), WUE (1.41 kg m-3), and net economic returns were observed from hybrid Pioneer-30Y87.

Keywords: Allometry, planting methods, root growth rate, water use efficiency.
1Bahauddin Zakariya University, College of Agriculture, Multan, Pakistan.
2Dankook University, Department of Crop Science and Biotechnology, Chungnam 330-714, Korea.
3University of Agriculture, Department of Agronomy, Faisalabad 38040, Pakistan. *Corresponding author (farooqcp@gmail.com).