Maize leaf-removal: A new agronomic approach to increase dry matter, flower number and seed-yield of soybean in maize soybean relay intercropping system

Muhammad Ali Raza, Ling Yang Feng, Wopke van der Werf, Nasir Iqbal, Muhammad Hayder Bin Khalid, Yuan Kai Chen, Allah Wasaya, Shoaib Ahmed, Atta Mohi Ud Din, Ahsin Khan, Saeed Ahmed, Feng Yang*, Wenyu Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Shading conditions adversely affect flower-number and pod-number of soybeans under maize-soybean relay-intercropping (MSR). Here we reveal that leaf-removal from maize-canopy improves the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) transmittance and dry-matter production (DMP) of soybean (especially during the co-growth phase), and compensates the maize seed-yield loss by considerably increasing soybean seed-yield. In a two-year experiment with MSR, maize-plants were subjected to different leaf-removal treatments to increase the PAR-transmittance of soybean; removal of the topmost two-leaves (R2), four-leaves (R4), six-leaves (R6), with no-removal of leaves (R0). Leaf-removal treatments improved the PAR-transmittance, photosynthetic-rate, and morphological-characteristics of soybean under MSR. At 90 days after sowing, the dry-matter of pods, and seeds was increased by 25%, and 32%, respectively under R6 than R0. Importantly, enhanced PAR-transmittance and DMP under R6 enabled soybean to initiate a greater number of flowers 182.2 plant-1 compared to 142.7 plant-1 under R0, and it also decreased the flower-abscission (by 13%, from 54.9% under R0 to 47.6% under R6). These positive responses increased the pod-number by 49% and seed-number by 28% under R6 than R0. Overall, under R6, relay-intercropped soybean produced 78% of sole-soybean seed-yield, and relay-intercropped maize produced 81% of sole-maize seed-yield and achieved the land equivalent ratio of 1.59.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13453
Number of pages1
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2019

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