Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bigger corn plants bully smaller neighbors in no-till fields

Date:
January 26, 2010
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
It might not look like there's much going on in those roadside corn fields, but a researcher has shown that corn plants are in a fierce battle with each other for resources.

It might not look like there's much going on in those roadside corn fields, but a Purdue University researcher has shown that corn plants are in a fierce battle with each other for resources.

Related Articles


Tony Vyn, a professor of agronomy, said it's been known for a long time that young corn plants are, on average, shorter in no-till, corn-on-corn fields, but that doesn't mean there is an overall stunting of growth among all plants. Instead, residue left over from last year's corn crop is changing soil conditions and creating a disadvantage for some plants fighting for sunlight, water and nutrients.

"There is a hierarchy that is formed, even though the plants are genetically the same and should be equal in size and stature," Vyn said about his findings, which were published in the early online version of the journal Soil & Tillage Research. "No-till corn yield reductions have little to do with an overall height reduction early in the season. They have more to do with height variability during vegetative growth."

Vyn said yield losses of up to 14 percent can be attributed to this competition in no-till fields where corn is planted the year after corn. In those fields, the leftover corn residue creates patches of soil with lower temperatures and different water and nutrient content. Seeds planted there are at a disadvantage.

"These conditions created by the field residue can affect root development," he said. "Plants that have better access to resources grow faster and then dominate their smaller neighbors."

Vyn studied plant height data over 14 years and found that there were pronounced height differences among plants by four weeks. It had been thought that a no-till field situation with high residue cover and no soil loosening uniformly reduced the height of all plants because of overall cooler soil temperatures, but Vyn said significant height differences were observed from plant to plant.

The negative consequences of this plant competition are exacerbated as planting density increases.

"For example, competition for nitrogen increases as crowding increases," Vyn said. "The higher the density, the greater the intensity of the competition for all resources."

Weather conditions, such as a lack of rainfall during a critical development period, also can affect the final yield from plants fighting for limited resources. While some plants dominate and grow to their full potential, the smaller, dominated plants decrease the field's overall yield.

Vyn said growers should ensure during the previous year's harvest that residue cover will be uniform, that fields are drained adequately, that surface soil compaction is avoided and that nutrients are evenly distributed. No-till fields are desirable because they decrease the amount of nutrients running off into nearby water, but Vyn said newer tillage options, such as vertical tillage, are less disruptive than the traditional intensive tillage and could ensure more uniform conditions for seeds.

The next step in the research is to investigate how vertical tillage systems and nutrient banding affect plant height uniformity and yield in corn-on-corn fields and whether hybrids developed for rootworm resistance are as susceptible to plant height variations.

Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Purdue University funded the research, and Beck's Hybrids provided corn seed.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. The original article was written by Brian Wallheimer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "Bigger corn plants bully smaller neighbors in no-till fields." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100125173252.htm>.
Purdue University. (2010, January 26). Bigger corn plants bully smaller neighbors in no-till fields. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100125173252.htm
Purdue University. "Bigger corn plants bully smaller neighbors in no-till fields." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100125173252.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins