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Stay-green characterization in Belgian forage maize

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 October 2016

J. SWANCKAERT
Affiliation:
Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Burg. Van Gansberghelaan 109, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium Department of Plant Production, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Proefhoevestraat 22, 9090 Melle, Belgium
J. PANNECOUCQUE
Affiliation:
Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Burg. Van Gansberghelaan 109, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
J. VAN WAES
Affiliation:
Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Burg. Van Gansberghelaan 109, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
K. STEPPE
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
M-C. VAN LABEKE
Affiliation:
Department of Plant Production, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Proefhoevestraat 22, 9090 Melle, Belgium
D. REHEUL
Affiliation:
Department of Plant Production, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Proefhoevestraat 22, 9090 Melle, Belgium
Corresponding

Summary

The term ‘stay-green’ (SG) is used in studies with varieties showing delayed senescence in the field. However, delayed appearance of visual symptoms of leaf senescence does not guarantee a longer duration of photosynthesis. The question arises whether the variation in photosynthetic capacity between silage maize varieties currently on the Belgian market is large enough to define different SG types. Furthermore, physiological traits were investigated as proxies for photosynthesis, including chlorophyll concentration, nitrogen (N) concentration, SPAD readings and greenness score. Finally, the functionality of the SG trait was determined by studying dry matter (DM) and N partitioning in the plants. To address these questions, eight silage maize varieties were monitored at two sites in Belgium over 2 years (2013–2014). Two plant types were found: hereafter called ‘normal’ and ‘SG’. The SG varieties had higher values for photosynthetic capacity and they coincided with higher values for the proxies. Because a higher photosynthetic capacity did not provoke higher assimilate accumulation in the leaves, the SG trait was characterized as a cosmetic one. The SG trait influenced N dynamics in the plant: lower N translocation from the leaves to the ear resulted in lower ear N concentration and lower ear DM yield. No differences in whole-crop N concentration and whole-crop DM yield were found. As the SG trait mainly provokes shifts in partition of DM and N between vegetative and generative tissues, the energy source also shifts from starch (provided by the ear) to cell wall material (provided by the stover).

Type
Crops and Soils Research Papers
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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