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Interactive effects of simulated hail damage and plant density on maize seed quality

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Production of high quality maize seeds depends on environmental conditions during crop growth and development. Maize was grown at two sites to compare simulated hail damage and plant density [high (65,000 plants ha-1), moderate (46,000 plants ha-1) and low (28,000 plants ha-1)], with respect to effects on seed quality. Hail damage was imposed by 80% damage to the leaves of white maize cultivars, SC701, MacMedium Pearl and Zama Star, at the seventh leaf stage (V7) and at tasselling (VT), while some plants were left undamaged until seeds were harvested after physiological maturity. In the laboratory, cob length was determined before cutting the cobs into two equal halves, thus creating a proximal (bottom) and distal (upper) portion of the seeds. Dry seeds were tested for selected seed quality standards according to ISTA, where 1000 grain mass, seed viability, seed germination percentage, germination vigour index and mean germination time were determined. Maize seed quality was reduced by hailstorm damage, especially when it occurred at the VT stage. High plant density and proximal position on the cob mitigated the negative effects of hail damage, hence considered innovative findings of this study. However, the physiological and genetic aspects related to the differences between seed positions need further investigation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2017

This article was made available online on December 27, 2016 as a Fast Track article with title: "Interactive effects of simulated hail damage and plant density on maize seed quality".

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  • Seed Science and Technology (SST) is one of the leading international journals featuring original papers and review articles on seed quality and physiology as related to seed production, harvest, processing, sampling, storage, distribution and testing. This widely recognised journal is designed to meet the needs of researchers, advisers and all those involved in the improvement and technical control of seed quality.
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