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Intercropping Time of Corn and Palisadegrass or Guineagrass Affecting Grain Yield and Forage Production

Abstract

Intercropping corn (Zea mays L.) with forages,such as palisadegrass {Urochloa brizantha(Hochst. ex A. Rich.) R. D. Webster [syn.Brachiaria brizantha (Hochst. ex A. Rich.) Stapf]}or guineagrass [Megathyrsus maximus (Jacq.)B. K. Simon & S. W. L. Jacobs (syn. Panicummaximum Jacq.)], provides large amounts ofbiomass for use as straw in no-tillage systems oras pasture. However, it is important to evaluatewhat time these forages have to be sown intocorn systems to avoid reductions in both cornand forage production. This study, conductedfor three growing seasons at Botucatu, Brazil,evaluated nutrient concentration and yield ofcorn as affected by time of forage intercroppedas well as forage's dry matter production.Our data showed that intercropping systemsdid not reduce leaf nutrient concentrationsand grain yield of corn in relation to solecorn. The simultaneous intercropping of cornand guineagrass resulted in the lowest plantpopulation (51,200 plant ha-1), number of earsper plant (1.0), and, consequently, the lowestcorn grain yield (9801 kg ha-1). Guineagrassseeded at the time of corn fertilizer topdressingresulted in the highest plant population (59,400plants ha-1), number of ears per plant (1.2),and corn grain yield (12,077 kg ha-1). Forageproduction was highest when intercrop wasdone simultaneously. Palisadegrass could beintercropped with corn both simultaneouslyor at topdressing fertilization stage. Incontrast, it is recommended that guineagrassshould only be intercropped with corn attopdressing fertilization. (AU)

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