Response of Corn Yield Components to Simulated Precipitation Augmentation


  • Steven E Hollinger Illinois State Water Survey Champaign, Illinois
  • Stanley A Changnon Illinois State Water Survey Champaign, Illinois


Mobile rain shelters were used to protect corn (Zea Mays L.) from all natural rainfall during the summers of 1987, 1988, 1989 while providing water to the crop through an overhead sprinkler system mounted in the rain shelters. Water was applied to the crop to simulate typical dry, normal, and wet summers in central Illinois. Final yields were measured at harvest along with the various yield components (number of kernel rows/ear, number of kernels/row, total number of kernels/ear, kernel mass) that determine final yield. Yields were increased in each of the typical summers by increased rainfall. The greatest benefit of the increased rainfall was realized at pollination and the 2 weeks following pollination as expressed by an increase in the number of kernels/fertile ear. Neither the number of kernel rows/fertile ear nor the final mass of the kernels were affected by the rainfall treatments. In addition to larger fertile ears, some yield increase was realized by a reduction in the number of barren plants in the plant population under higher rainfall treatments.




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