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Effect of Intercropping on Yields of Corn with Different Relative Maturities and Palisadegrass

Abstract

Intercropping corn (Zea mays L.) with palisadegrass [Brachiaria brizantha (Hochst. ex A. Rich) Stapf] can result in high amountsof residue and improve nutrient cycling. Long-season corn hybrids will live longer, competing with palisadegrass, which mayreduce both corn and forage biomass yields. This study, conducted in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, had the objective of evaluatingnutrient concentration and yield of corn hybrids with different maturity ratings as affected by intercropped palisadegrass as wellas forage dry matter production. The experimental design was randomized blocks with a factorial arrangement of eight treatmentsconsisting of two cropping systems (corn alone and intercropped with palisadegrass) and four corn hybrids (105-, 121-, 13-2, and144-d relative maturity). Compared with corn grown alone, intercropping treatments resulted in corn grain yields of 107% (105-dhybrid) to 71.7% (144-d hybrid). In the corn-alone system, the 132- and 144-d corn hybrids provided the highest corn yields (9581and 9606 kg ha-1, respectively). Corn yield was similar between the single-crop and intercrop systems when using 105-, 121-, and132-d hybrids. Intercropping with the 144-d hybrid reduced forage production (6619 kg ha-1) and quality of palisadegrass (86 g kg-1of crude protein) compared with the other hybrids. The intercropping system with the 132-d hybrid allowed both the highest corngrain (8860 kg ha-1) and palisadegrass (8256 kg ha-1) yields. Therefore, intercropping palisadegrass with the earlier (105-, 121-,and 132-d) corn hybrids is a viable option for crop-livestock integration because it did not affect either corn or palisadegrass yield. (AU)

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