Predicting Kernel Growth of Maize under Controlled Water and Nitrogen Applications

Hafiz Mohkum Hammad, Farhat Abbas, Ashfaq Ahmad, Hafiz Faiq Bakhat, Wajid Farhad, Carol Jo Wilkerson, Shah Fahad, Gerrit Hoogenboom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


The availability of water and nitrogen (N) to maize during its flowering stage affects the growth of individual kernels. The present study reports the variability of maize kernel dry weight under different levels of water and N applications. Two consecutive-year experiments were conducted during 2009 and during 2010 to study the interaction between three irrigation regimes and five N application rates on weekly maize kernel growth. Logistic and regression equations were fitted to kernel moisture content and kernel dry weight as a function of thermal time (TT) during critical crop stages. Kernel moisture content and growth rate increased non-linearly from 1 week after silking to physiological maturity. By applying logistic function we were able to improve simulation of kernel moisture content and daily increases in kernel dry weight. The logistic curve showed kernel moisture contents linearly correlated with kernel dry weight. Similarly, regression analyses of kernel dry weight showed a significant positive correlation with kernel moisture content for the 2009 (R2 = 0.86 NRMSE = 23%) and 2010 growing seasons (R2 = 0.92; NRMSE = 19%). Therefore, the logistics curves derived from the observed data may be helpful for predicting daily kernel growth for the semi-arid conditions. The results showed that the optimal N rate for maximum kernel dry weight was 250 kg ha−1 under 525 mm delta of water application ha−1. This rate might be considered in formulating good agricultural practices for optimum maize kernel growth in the semi-arid regions. Thus, our results contribute to better understanding of best management practices of N fertilizer and irrigation water for optimum maize productivity under semiarid region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-620
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Plant Production
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Grain filling
  • Grain yield
  • Kernel growth rate
  • Kernel moisture content
  • Semi-arid region


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