Intergration of management practices towards improving hybrid maize yield, quality and nutritional compositions under rain-fed condition.
Akinnuoye-Adelabu, Dolapo Bola.
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Maize (Zea may L.) is an important staple crop grown under different ecological conditions by both large-scale commercial and smallholder farmers in Southern Africa. The current changes in climatic conditions may propel farmers to shift from their convectional planting windows and harvesting period, which may have resultant effect on the seed yield and quality. Hence, it is important to understand how maize production responds to climate change. This study evaluated interaction of planting date and soil fertility level on maize (Zea mays L. cv. SC701) morphological, physiological and yield parameters. Field trials were conducted during the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons at two sites under dryland conditions to compare the effects of early season, mid-season and late season planting dates on these parameters under different soil fertility levels. In addition, yield, kernel nutritional value and seed quality were determined in response to different maturity stages. Results showed a significant interaction between planting date and fertiliser application on crop growth and quality. The study indicated that maize production is more sensitive to planting date, which is linked to a lack of optimum temperature for growth than fertiliser application. However, optimum soil fertility can be used to attain a better seed quality under sub-optimal planting date.