The growth of maize in the cool temperate climate of the Netherlands: Effect of grain filling on production of dry matter and on chemical composition and nutritive value.
AbstractIn a trial in 1975 the effect of grain filling on productivity and nutritive value of forage maize was studied in 3 hybrid cv. Variation in grain filling was obtained by periodic sampling after silking (end-July) of pollinated (fertile) and unpollinated (sterile) crops. Production of DM of fertile and sterile maize was the same until end-Aug. but in Sept. production rate of the sterile crop lagged behind the fertile crop by c. 100 kg DM/ha day, the difference mainly consisting of non-structural carbohydrate. In the fertile crop, carbohydrate mainly accumulated in the ear as starch, but in the sterile crop it was almost completely stored in the stover as water-soluble carbohydrate. In contrast to the fertile crop, cell-wall production in the sterile stem proceeded throughout Sept. Cell-wall digestibility in the stover was not affected by pollination, so because of the smaller yield of non-structural carbohydrate, yield of DM and DOM of the sterile crop were 14 and 17%, resp. less than of the fertile crop at the final sampling. These differences might become greater in the silage. These data collected in the sunny season of 1975 and from the literature suggest that in bright and warm weather yield of sterile maize will greatly lag behind fertile maize, but in adverse conditions (lower irradiance and temp., high plant density, unhealthy leaves) this yield lag would be smaller. So grain filling is important for good production and nutritive value of forage maize in cool regions with little sun, but it is less essential than in brighter and warmer climates. (Abstract retrieved from CAB Abstracts by CABI’s permission)