Grain yield and gross income of maize cultivars with contrasting genetic variability at different management systems

The optimization of maize production systems in southern Brazil depends on the adequate combination between genotype traits and the type of management system. This work was carried out aiming at evaluating the grain yield and gross income of maize cultivars with contrasting genetic variability at different management levels. The experiment was conducted in Lages, SC, using randomized block design with split-plots. Four production systems, equivalent to low (S1), medium (S2), high (S3) and very high (S4) management levels were tested in the main plots. The single-cross hybrid Pioneer 32R21, the double cross hybrid Traktor, and the open-pollinated variety BRS Planalto were assessed in the split-plots. The management systems differed in relation to the quantity and timing of fertilizer application, plant density, row spacing, and water irrigation. The trials were sown in 11/20/2002 and 10/22/2003, under the no-till soil tillage system. Regardless cultivar, maize grain yield and gross income increased with the enhancement in management level, ranging from 1,781 (S1) to 13,848 (S4)kg ha-1 and from 206,00 (S1) to 2,937,00 (S4)R$ ha-1, depending on the cultivar and growing season. The larger genetic variability of the cultivar BRS Planalto did not improve its grain yield when compared to the hybrids in S1. The hybrids were more productive and profitable than the open pollinated variety in S2. The use of a single-cross hybrid promoted the greatest grain yield and gross income in S3 and S4, showing that it is possible to match maximum technical and economic efficiency with a high yield plateau, as long as there is financial condition to invest in cultural practices that optimize maize agronomic performance and genetic potential to explore them.

Zea mays; hybrids; varieties; technological level; economic return

Universidade Federal de Santa Maria Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Centro de Ciências Rurais , 97105-900 Santa Maria RS Brazil , Tel.: +55 55 3220-8698 , Fax: +55 55 3220-8695 - Santa Maria - RS - Brazil