n South African Journal of Plant and Soil - Potential of producing green mealies in summer and winter at two sites in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, considering rainfall, soil moisture and weeding

Volume 34 Number 3
  • ISSN : 0257-1862
  • E-ISSN: 2167-034X
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Producers are exploring possibilities of growing major crops outside the normal growing seasons due to environmental challenges associated with climate change. This study evaluated growth and yield of maize (Zea mays ‘SC701’) in relation to planting season and weeding. Field trials were conducted in the 2012/2013 seasons at two sites in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A factorial experiment arranged in a randomised complete block design replicated four times was used. Weed treatments (no weeding, single weeding and double weeding) were blocked. Results showed that weeding frequency and season had a significantly (p < 0.001) positive effect on crop growth, physiological traits and yield components measured. Yield was higher in summer compared with the winter season, as expected. Interestingly, there were no statistical differences in yield components with respect to single and double weeding, while round and flat seeds performed similarly. During summer, a high yield was attained with single weeding at six weeks after planting. Maintenance of average temperature and adequate soil water reserves allowed yield formation in both seasons at only one site, but low soil water and temperatures at the reproductive stage led to no yield formation at the second site. Green mealies can be produced in summer and winter if the temperature and soil moisture conditions remain adequate.

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