Tillage and crop establishment practices for improving productivity of maize (Zea map) under different weed control methods

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Tillage and crop establishment practices for improving productivity of maize (Zea map) under different weed control methods

Authors
Publisher
The Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences
Keywords
  • Maize
  • Tillage
  • Grain Yield
  • N Uptake
  • Weed Control

Abstract

A field experiment was conducted during rainy season 2004 and 2005 at New Delhi to study the effect of tillage and crop establishment practices on growth and yield performance of maize (Zea mays L.), weed infestation, nitrogen uptake and economics. Tillage and crop establishment practices, viz conventional tillage -flat bed, conventional tillage - narrowbed (ridge and furrow), conventional tillage - broad-bed, minimum tillage - flat bed, and stale seed-bed - flat bed (included in 2005 only) were combined with weed control methods, viz unweeded control, atrazine @ 1 kg,ha as pre-emergence, atrazine + manual weeding at 30 days of growth, and atrazine + paraquat as directed spray at 35 days of growth in a splitplot design replicated thrice. The mean loss in grain yield of maize due to unchecked weed infestation was 43546.4%. Adoption of stale seed-bed practice (in 2005) caused reduction in weed count (18.8-34.1%) and dry weight (21.3%) as compared with that of conventional tillage - flat bed. The highest grain yield (2.90 tonnesha) was obtained under stale seed-bed, which was significantly more (13.7%) than conventional tillage - flat bed. Bed planting systems resulted in similar weed infestation but a relatively higher grain yield (6.9-14.6410) as compared with that of conventional tillage - flat bed. Minimum tillage gave the lowest yield (2.30-2.60 tonnesha) due to poor growth of maize plants associated with higher weed infestation. Pre-emergence application of atrazine provided good early control of the few broad-leaved species. viz Trianthemaport protulacastrum. and Digera muricata (L.) Mart.; syn D.a rvensis Forsk, while the grassy weeds dominated by Echirzochloa colonum Medik were only partially controlled. Supplementation with manual weeding or paraquat directed spray after a month of growth was necessary to achieve season-long control of weeds and higher productivity of maize. Nitrogen uptake by maize increased while that by weeds decreased under the treatments that provided effective control of weeds and improved growth and yield performance of maize. Regression analysis also indicated that yield and N uptake of maize were negatively correlated with that of weeds (r = - 0.937** and - 0.958**). Unweeded control recorded negative returns under all tillage practices (- 682 to - 1 594 Rsha), while the highest net returns/Re invested were under stale seed-bed along with atrazine + paraquat (0.565), followed by atrazine + manual weeding (0.512). Growing maize by adopting stale seed-bed practice and controlling weeds with atrazine as pre-emergence and paraquat as post-emergence directed spray is recommended for higher productivity and profitability..

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