Although kernel weight (KW) has proven to be an increasingly important driver behind grain yield (GY) variability in modern maize hybrids, nitrogen’s (N) role in the determination of individual sink capacity (i.e., potential KW) during the lag phase of reproductive development remains unclear. The research objective was to study the relationships between endosperm cell number (ECN) during the lag phase (an indicator of potential KW) and final KW within the context of changing plant N dynamics in field-grown maize during the lag phase. This study shows that higher N availability, independently of N timing and plant density, increased final KW by enhancing the sink capacity of individual kernels (at a wide range of kernel numbers per plant) via gains in ECN during lag-period development. Read more.
Olmedo Pico, L.B., Zhang, C., Vyn, T.J. (2021). The central role of ear nitrogen uptake in maize endosperm cell and kernel weight determination during the lag period.
Published in Field Crops Research.