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Effect of water supply deficit on yield and quality of a sweet corn crop

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Authors: J.A. De Juan Valero, C. Fabeiro Cortés, F.J. Martín de Santa Olalla Mañas, H. López Córcoles
Issue: 95V-3 (218-240)
Topic: Plant Production
Keywords: Zea mays L. var. rugosa Bonaf., irrigation treatments, water deficit, production, production functions, water applied efficiency

There is a big interest in obtaining production functions versus received water by the crops, in order to optimise the use of this very scarce and expensive resource at the irrigation zones in Castilla‑La Mancha. This fact has motivare to study the quantitative and qualitative production of sweet corn (Zea mays L. var. rugosa Bonaf, cv. 'Jubileo') under different strategies of irrigation scheduling.
Water deficit resulted in a remarkable decrease of the yield components (number of ears per hectare and average unitary ear weight). Other production parameters negatively affected by the lack of water were: total aerial dry matter production, marketable ears yield, spathed and unspathed, fresh grain yield, harvest index and ears dimensions. In the other hand, water deficit improved the soluble solids content (°Brix) in grains and shorted the commercial maturation period.
The experimental data of total aerial dry matter production, marketable ears yield and fresh grain yield versus seasonal water supply (including irrigation and effective precipitation) best fitted to 3rd degree expopolinomial functions with determination coefficients between 0.97‑0.98. The maximum values of the production parameters could be observed with seasonal water supply ranging 385 and 410 mm.
Irrigation water seemed to be more effective during the formation of the stalk and the maturation of sweet corn grains.
Likewise, it could be proved that, generally, the most overirrigated treatments originated the lowest irrigation water efficiency regarding the production. In the opposite end, the most deficitary treatment, with strong and extended water stress could be find.

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