Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 498293
Title High productivity of wheat intercropped with maize is associated with plant architectural responses
Author(s) Zhu, J.; Werf, W. van der; Vos, J.; Putten, P.E.L. van der; Evers, J.B.
Source Annals of Applied Biology (2016). - ISSN 0003-4746
Department(s) Centre for Crop Systems Analysis
Crop and Weed Ecology
Crop Physiology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) Border-row effect - Leaf azimuth - Leaf size - Plant plasticity - Tiller dynamics - Wheat-maize intercropping

Mixed cultivation of crops often results in increased production per unit land area, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Plants in intercrops grow differently from plants in single crops; however, no study has shown the association between plant plastic responses and the yield advantage. Here, we assessed the productivity of wheat-maize intercropping as compared to sole wheat and sole maize, and the associated differences in wheat shoot and leaf traits. In two field experiments, intercrop wheat and maize were both grown in alternating strips consisting of six rows of wheat and two rows of maize. The traits of wheat plants in border rows of the strips were compared to the traits of plants in the inner rows as well as those in sole wheat. Leaf development, chlorophyll concentration and azimuth, as well as the final leaf and ear sizes, tiller dynamics of wheat and yield components of both crops were determined. The relative densities of wheat and maize in the intercrop were 0.33 and 0.67, respectively, but the corresponding relative yields compared to the respective monocultures were 0.46 for wheat and 0.77 for maize. Compared to wheat plants in the inner rows of the intercrop strips as well as in the monoculture, border-row wheat plants in the intercrop strips had (a) more tillers owing to increased tiller production and survival, and thus more ears, (b) larger top leaves on the main stem and tillers, (c) higher chlorophyll concentration in leaves, (d) greater number of kernels per ear and (e) smaller thousand-grain weight. Grain yield per metre row length of border-row wheat was 141% higher than the sole wheat, and was 176% higher than the inner-row wheat. The results demonstrate the importance of plasticity in architectural traits for yield advantage in multispecies cropping systems.

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