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CASA, Ricardo Trezzi; MOREIRA, Eder Novaes; BOGO, Amauri and SANGOI, Luís. Incidence of stalk rot, rot grains and grain yield of maize hybrids submitted to the increase in plant density. Summa phytopathol. [online]. 2007, vol.33, n.4, pp. 353-357. ISSN 0100-5405. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-54052007000400006.
The combination between plant density and hybrid choice is an important factor to enhance maize grain yield. The objective of this work was to evaluate the increasing of plant density on the incidence of stalk rot, rot grains and grain yield of two maize hybrids with contrasting tolerance to crowding. The experiment was carried out in Lages-SC, during the crop seasons of 2002/03 and 2003/04, in an area of no-tillage and monoculture, having a mixture of black oat and vetch as the preceding winter crop. The experimental design was a randomized block with split plot arrangement and three replications per treatment. Two hybrids were evaluated in the main plots: Speed (a single-cross hybrid tolerant to crowding) and AG 303 (a double-cross hybrid intolerant to crowding). Each hybrid was submitted to five plant densities in the split-plots: 25, 50, 75, 100 and 125 thousand plants per ha. The increase in plant density enhanced linearly the occurrence of stalk rot and rot grains for both hybrids and crop seasons. The fungus Colletotrichum graminicola was detected with great frequency in the stalk rot, regardless of hybrid and crop season, followed by Fusarium graminearum, F. verticillioides and Stenocarpella sp. The predominant fungi in rot grains were F. verticillioides, F. graminearum and Penicillium spp. The grain yield of AG 303 was less responsive to the increment in plant density. No association between the higher grain yield of the single-cross hybrid Speed at dense stands and the lower incidence of stalk rot and rot grains was detected.
Keywords : diseases; monoculture; no-till; plant density; Zea mays.