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Performance of Maize (Zea mays) Under Different Sowing Methods and Intra Row Spacing 

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*Corresponding author:  
Abdelrahman Mohammed Ahmed  Hamid 
Intra-row spacing 
Hudeiba I 
Grain yield 
Leaf area index
The experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of sowing methods and intra-row spacings on some agronomic characteristics of the crop, including plant height, stem diameter, leaf area index, number of rows/ear, number of seeds/ row, number of grains per Ear, 1000-grains  weight and grain yield (t.ha 1), were conducted using the cultivar Hudeiba I,  seasons 2019/20 and 2020/21. The experimental design was a randomized complete block design in a split-plot arrangement with three replications.  The main plot was sowing methods (drilling, ridging, and terrace). Subplots were intra-row spacing of (10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 cm). Sowing methods and intra-row spacing had significant effects on plant height, number of seeds per ear, and grain yield. Row spacing had non-significant effects on stem sickness, number of rows per cob, and 1000-grain weight. Intra-row spacing at 20 cm gave the highest grain yield (6.99 t.ha-1) and the same intra-row spacing 20 cm combined with the ridging sowing method gave the maximum grain yield, so they achieved (8.33 t.ha 1), and intra-row spacing  10 cm with drilling sowing method were gave the highest plant height in both two seasons, they were achieved 190.13 cm. It’s clear that plant height increased with the decrease in intra-row spacing. Stem diameter decreased with the decrease in intra-row spacing. Intra-row spacing (10 cm) in combination with the terrace sowing method produced a lower grain yield (3.53 t.ha 1). 


Determination of the optimum plant density and in combination with appropriate agronomic practices is an important component of crop production package for maximizing productivity. Maize (Zea mays L.) is a member of the grass family, Poaceae (Gramineae); it’s the world’s widely grown highland cereal and primary staple food crop and animal feed in many developing countries  (Kandil, 2014). It is the third most important staple food crop both in terms of area and production after wheat and rice in the world (Yearbook, 1995). Maize demand is projected to increase by 50% worldwide` and by 93% in sub-Saharan (FAO, 2015, Temesgen, 2019).

In many countries becoming the main food crop, especially in parts of Africa and Asia countries. Maize has become a staple food in many parts of the world, with total production surpassing that of wheat or rice (Ali, 2019). Maize is also known as corn, domesticated by the indigenous people of  South Mexico before 10,000 years ago (Ali, 2019).

The rapidly increasing demand for maize is driven by increased demand for direct human consumption in the world as a  staple food crop (Ghimire et al. Kandil, 2014), this made many researchers, research centers and countries focus on this crop in order to fill any potential food gap in the world, whether through direct consumption or through animal and poultry feed. Where increasing grain yield per unit area and increasing the corn are the best solutions to decrease the gap between consumption and production from feed and forage.

Among the good agricultural practices to achieve this goal is to define the best row and intra-row spacing. Decreasing intra-row spacing decreased the number of inflorescences per plant, leaf area, shoot dry weight, and grain yield per plant but increased plant height (Kandil, 2014). In other crops, early sowing dates with low density and high irrigation levels increased the growth period and reduced competition, so increased production potential of Amaranth (Kandil,  2014, Yarmia et al. 2011). 

Although maize was a non-major crop in Sudan, in the past few years the need for it has grown, as it is used in livestock and poultry feed, in addition to using it in other food industries and biofuel (ethanol). Maize optimum cultural practices should be determined to satisfy the increasing demand for the crop. Also, its production is greatly affected by varying planting density than other members of the grass family because of its monoecious floral organization, its low tillering cognition to fill the gap among plants, and the presence of synopsis ontogeny punctuation (Ali et al. 2017). 

In fact, Sudan has great potential for animal production,  ranking first in the Arab World. In Sudan, area cropped with maize amounts to 126 thousand acres (121,500  Feddan), about 51000 ha-1, which is 82% of that of 2013  (FAOSTAT, 2016). It’s becoming the fourth most important, after wheat, sorghum, and millet. It is grown mainly as a food and feed crop (both forage and grain).  Also it’s of minor importance; it is only grown on in River  Banks, in small batches, and in the “Jobraka” system of farming around houses in rural areas, in irrigated schemes, and in modern irrigation systems in Khartoum and River Nile States (Ali, 2019). 

The establishment of an adequate plant density is critical for the utilization of available growth factors such as water, light, nutrients, and carbon dioxide and to maximize grain yield. Decreasing the distance between neighbor rows at any particular plant population has  several potential advantages. It reduces competition among plants within rows for light, water, and nutrients due to a more equidistant plant arrangement (Tesfaye,  2020). 

Growth and grain yield of maize is more affected by variations in hill spacing than other members of the grass family. Too wide spacing leads to low plant density per unit area and reduces ground cover, whereas too narrow spacing is related to intense competition between plants for growth factors (Tesfaye, 2020). The low yield of crops has been partly attributed to inappropriate plant density,  planting time, and pest pressure (weeds, diseases, and  

insect pests) (Gobeze et al, 2012). Determination of  optimum plant population, adapted varieties and  appropriate agronomic practices are important  components of the maize production package for  maximizing productivity. Successful production of any  crop depends on the application of production inputs that  will support the environment as well as agricultural  production, these inputs include; adapted varieties, plant  population, soil tillage, fertilization, weed, insect and  disease control, harvesting, marketing and financial  resources.

Maize crops are characterized as low tillers,  this poses that population density should be manipulated  to compensate for the spaces created by the low tillering  character; therefore, studying plant densities will be of  vital importance. Many cultural practices like optimum  sowing methods, intra-row spacing, and suitable varieties  which achieve economical yield are also crucial for  farmers and producers to increase their returns, change  lifestyles, and increase the investment capital of  producers and investors. The increase in maize crop yield  adds up to the satisfaction of the growing demand of the  increasing livestock and poultry industry. 

The experiments were conducted to adapt the best  cultural practices that increase maize production in  Sudan, especially in Khartoum north area. Therefore, the  overall objective of this study investigated a new cash and  food crop, test the effects of sowing methods, and intra row spacing on a variety of maize (Hudeiba I) for the  growth, yield, and yield components of the crop. 


Description of the experiment 

Two experiments were conducted at the experimental farm of the College of Agricultural Studies, Sudan  University of Science and Technology, Shambat,  Khartoum North, Sudan, to investigate the effects of three sowing methods (drilling, ridging, and terrace), and five intra row spacing’s (10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 cm) on some agronomic characters of plants using the cultivar  Hudeiba I, seasons 2019/20 and 2020/21.

The area suited in the low land, River Nile, which lies between Latitude 15˚  40̍ N and longitude 32˚ 32̍ E, evaluated 380 m above Sea level (Gol, 2018). During two consecutive seasons  (2019/20 and 2020/21) to investigate the proper sowing method with the relation of intra-row spacing of maize,  variety (Hudeiba I), using a Randomized Complete Block  Design in a split-plot arrangement, keeping sowing methods as main plots and intra-row spacing as subplots, plant populations of these intra-row spacings at all sowing methods are (10.0, 6.67, 5.0, 4.0 and 3.33 plants  m-1) respectively (Table 1), the plot measuring size is 12 m2 (4 rows× 3 m) with three replications (Table 1),  (drilling sowing method was leveled the four ridges and seeds were sown in four lines, the terrace sowing method was combined every two ridges together to compose one terrace and seeds were sown at the sides of any terrace).  The spacing of 1.0 m and 1.5 m were left between plots and blocks, respectively. 

Table 1: Combination of Treatments and Descriptions 

No SM× Intra row spacingPlot area  (m2)Plant  density/ m-1
SM1 IRSP1 12 m210.0
SM1 IRSP2 12 m26.67
SM1 IRSP3 12 m25.00
SM1 IRSP4 12 m24.00
SM1 IRSP5 12 m23.33

SM= Sowing Methods (1= Drilling (Flat), 2= Ridging, 3=  Terrace), IRSP = Intra-row Spacing (1= 10, 2= 15, 3= 20,  4= 25 and 5= 30 cm).  


The climate according to Shambat Metrological station, is described as tropical semi-arid, with the maximum  annual rainfall ranging between 160- 180 mm, occurring  from July to September. Relative humidity ranges between 31- 51% during the wet season and 12-27%  during the dry season. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures in Khartoum North are 41.7˚C and 15.3˚C  respectively. Winter season from Nov. – Mar. and is  relatively cool and dry. The summer season is hot and dry. 

Sowing methods and time 

The experiments were sown on the 4th week of Nov. during both seasons. Sowing was done manually.  Pumping water thefrom river Nile is common; in addition,  underground water is used as supplementary irrigation  the when river pump station was failed, especially in the  second season. The first irrigation was given 15 days after the sowing in the first season and 7 days in the second season. For the 1st month field was shallowly irrigated at 7 interval days, while after a month till to tasselling and silking irrigation 10 days intervals were applied deeply by a furrow system, and at a critical time at tasselling and silking stage field was irrigated by 5 days interval to initiate flowering and silking, most of the time irrigation has been done after noon to avoid loses of water from the field by evaporation. 

Land preparations 

Land was well prepared (soil was plowed with a disc plow to uproot the previous crop, followed by disc harrow,  cross harrow, and leveling and finally ridging operation),  all these operations were done by a tractor. After that,  the field was divided into plots. Drilling and terrace were done manually after dividing the soil and then two seeds per hole were sown manually at the last end-Nov, thinning to a single plant per hole was done when seedlings produced four real leaves. 

Plant material 

The open-pollinated variety of grain maize (Zea mays L.)  used in this study was obtained from Agricultural  Research Corporation (ARC), Hudeiba station. The  experiments were conducted to study the effects of  sowing methods, and intra-row spacing on maize variety  namely: Hudeiba I. 

Soil classification 

Soil of Shambat is well-drained loamy clay, non-saline,  non-sodic, and classified predominantly as arid sols with  pockets of Vertisols formed on old alluvium deposits, and  Entisols on recent alluvium and aeolian deposits, with pH  ranging from 7.71 to 7.91 (Gol, 2018, Hamadtou, 2016,  Osman, 2021). 


Phosphorus fertilizer in the form of DAP (Diammonium  phosphate 18% N and 46% P2O5) at the recommended  dose of 100.0 kg. ha-1 this equivalent (9 kg N and 46 kg  P2O5) and half of the recommended dose of Nitrogen  fertilizer in the form of Urea 46% N 250.0 kg ha-1, this  equivalent (115.0 kg N) were added uniformly to all plots  manually at the time of the sowing and the rest half of N fertilizer was added after 35 days (5 weeks) from the first  irrigation during both seasons. 


Herbicide 2-4-D (2-4-dichloro-phenoxyacetic acid) 4.0 L.  ha-1 was applied manually by Knapsack to protect the  crop from broad leaves in the second season only. 


Amidocloprid (N-{1-[(6-Chloro-3-pyridyl) methyl]-4, 5- dihydroimidazol-2-yl} nitramide) 1.50 L/ha-1 was applied  manually by Knapsack, to control the Armyworms Mythimna Spp. (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) appeared  during both seasons.  

Plant height (cm) 

Plant height was measured from six randomly pre-tagged  plants from the net plot area and then their height was  measured from the soil surface to the point where the  tassel starts to branch with a meter rod at physiological  maturity. 

Stem diameter (mm) 

Stem diameter was measured at 30 cm over the soil  surface using the vernier caliper to determine the plant  thickness and effects of sowing methods and intra-row  spacing. 

Leaf area 

Leaf area per plant and leaf area index was recorded at  50% milk stage by measuring the leaf length and  maximum leaf width of three leaves (top, middle, and  bottom) per plant from six randomly pre-tagged plants  from each net plot, the average of the three leaves was  multiplied by the total number of leaves per plant and the  area was adjusted by a correction factor 0.75 (i.e. 0.75×  leaf length× maximum leaf width) as described by (Francis  et al. 1969). The leaf area index was determined as the  ratio of leaf area per plant divided by the respective  ground area occupied by the plant. 

Ear length 

Ear length was recorded from six pre-tagged plants and  measured their ear height from the attached of stalk level  to the node bearing the top useful ear with a meter rod  at physiological maturity. 

Ear diameter 

Ear diameter was recorded also from the same six ears  taken from the net plot area (The same ears from which  the length was taken), and then their diameter was  measured at the middle of the ear with an vernier caliper;  the mean was recorded as an ear diameter. 

Number of rows/ear 

The number of rows per ear was counted with the  average number of rows in six ears from the same six pre tagged plants, where the number of rows from six ears  was counted and divided by their number. 

Number of kernels/ row (KR) 

Number of kernels per Ear (KR) was recorded from the  six pre-tagged plants.ears taken from the same six pre tagged plants. 

Number of kernels/ ear 

Number of kernels per ear were recorded by multiplying  the total number of rows per ear and the number of  kernels per row was recorded from the same six ears  taken from the net plot area (The same ears from which  the lengths and thickness were taken) in the net plot area  after harvest and the average was recorded. 

1000-kernels weight (GW) 

Thousand kernels were counted from randomly taken  ears after shelling by (manual counted). Then, thousand  kernels weight was recorded from weighed thousand  kernels using sensitive balance and adjusted to 12.5%  moisture level. 

Grain yield (GY) 

Grain yield per plot was recorded using electronic balance  and then adjusted to 12.5% moisture and converted to  hectare basis. The trend of data collected during two seasons was found  similar, so the data was averaged. 

Statistical analysis 

The data was subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA)  using Statistical Analysis System (Statistix10, 2013)  version Software using proc GLM procedure.  Duncan’s multiple range tests and LSD was used to  separate significantly differing treatment means after  treatment effects were found significant at P≤ 0.05. 


Analysis of variance showed a significant differences  among sowing methods, intra-row spacing and  interactions of both variables were obtained from leaf  area index (LAI), number of kernels per row, and grain  yield in the combined results of two years, all results were  shown in (Tables 2- 4). 

Plant height (cm): Analysis of variances of plant height showed no  significant affected due to the main effects of sowing  method, but highly significant at (P>01) of intra-row  spacing and significant at (P>05) of combined analysis of  sowing methods with intra-row spacing, the highest plant  height (190.13 and 181.73 cm) were obtained from an  interactions of drilling and ridging sowing methods with  10 cm intra-row spacing, respectively, while the lowest  (139.20 and 134.20 cm) were recorded from interactions of terrace sowing method combined with 25 cm intra-row  spacing followed by interactions of drilling sowing method combined with 30 cm intra-row spacing, (Table  2).  

Plant height was increased with decreased of intra-row  spacing (increase in plant population from 3.33 to 10.0  plants.m-1), and these might be due to competition  among plants about growth factors (moisture, nutrients,  solar radiation and wind), these results agreed with  (Gondal et al. 2017), they found that plant height was  increased with increasing seed rate and decreasing row  spacing. (Snider et al, 2012), reported that the effects of  seeding rate on the plant height to be significant but  contrasting effects at different sites.

The intra-row  spacing of 10 cm resulted in the highest plant height  among all intra-row spacings and interactions among  sowing methods; the lower plant height (134.20 cm) was  obtained from drilling sowing method and interaction  with 30 cm intra-row spacing. Also (Azam, 2007),  reported that various varieties of maize have genotypic  differences for plant height where the tallest plant height  (145 cm) was recorded for variety Cargill 707 and the  shortest plant height (134 cm) was recorded for variety  Baber. 

Stem diameter (mm) 

Analysis of variances of stem diameter showed  significantly (p>01) affected by intra-row spacing but  sowing methods and interaction between sowing  methods and intra-row spacing had no significant effects.  The highest stem diameter (20.3 mm) was determined at  interaction of drilling sowing method with 30 cm intra spacing, while the lowest stem diameter (15.3 mm) was  recorded at interaction of drilling and ridging sowing  methods with 15 cm intra-row spacing, terrace sowing  method was achieved the highest stem diameter (17.3  mm),

while the sowing methods, and both were get 17.1  mm stem diameter, also 30 cm intra-row spacing was  resulted the maximum (19.9 cm) stem thickness over the  all other intra-row spacings (Table 2). These results may  due to the fact that higher seed rate directly results in  higher stems density and a higher stem density resulting  in decrease in stem diameter due to the obvious  interplant competition due to narrower of holes between  plant to plant.

These results were in line with (Schmitt  and Wulff, 1993, Werf et al 1995) they reported that  increase in seed rate from 5 kg ha-1 to 15 kg ha-1 resulted  in a significant decrease in stem diameter while increased  the stem density. Higher plant density produces thin  stemmed plants that tend to lodge Kashiwagi et al, 2008;  Venuto and Kindiger, 2008). 

Table 2: Effects of sowing methods and intra-row  spacing on growth parameters (PH, SD and LAI) of maize 

Treatments Plant height  (cm)Stem  diameter  (mm)LAI (cm)
IRSP1 (10 cm) 179.76a 1.57c 4.74d
IRSP2 (15 cm) 170.62ab 15.6c 5.70c
IRSP3 (20 cm) 164.30b 16.1c 6.99b
IRSP4 (25 cm) 151.31c 18.5b 5.07ab
IRSP5 (30 cm) 145.96c 19.9a 4.86a
L. S. ** ** *
LSD (0.05) 4.19 0.04 0.07
SM1 (drilling) 165.11a 17.1a 3.63ab
SM2 (ridging) 171.28a 17.1a 3.99a
SM3 (terrace) 150.77a 17.3a 3.28b
L.S. N.S. N.S. **
LSD (05) 10.86 0.06 0.14
SM1 IRSP1 190.13 15.7 5.13
SM1 IRSP2 166.40 15.3 5.93
SM1 IRSP3 181.10 16.3 7.27
SM1 IRSP4 153.73 17.7 4.80
SM1 IRSP5 134.20 20.3 5.03
SM2 IRSP1 181.73 15.7 5.57
SM2 IRSP2 180.20 15.3 6.40
SM2 IRSP3 172.33 1.60 8.33
SM2 IRSP4 161.00 18.7 4.83
SM2 IRSP5 161.13 19.7 5.60
SM3 IRSP1 167.40 15.7 3.53
SM3 IRSP2 165.27 16.0 4.77
SM3 IRSP3 139.47 16.0 5.37
SM3 IRSP4 139.20 19.3 4.57
SM3 IRSP5 142.53 19.7 3.93
L. S N.S. *
LSD (0.05) 7.74 0.06 0.13

IRSP = Intra-row Spacing (10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 cm), SM= Sowing  Methods (1= Drilling (Flat), 2= Ridging, 3= Terrace), L. S= level  of significant. * Significant at 0.05%, ** significant at 0.01%.,  N.S. Not significant, LSD: Least Significant Different. 

Leaf area index 

Analysis of variance showed a highly significant at (P <  0.01) affected by way of sowing methods and significant  at (P> 0.05) affected by two ways (intra-row spacing and  interactions of sowing method with intra-row spacing).  Therefore, analysis and combined analysis of variance  depicted that the maximum leaf area index (8.33 and  6.99) were obtained from interactions of the intra-row  spacing 20 cm× ridging sowing method and intra-row  spacing 20 cm, respectively (5.0 stalk. m-1 plant density),  whereas the minimum leaf area index (3.53 and 3.28)  were attained from combination of the terrace sowing  method× 10 cm intra-row spacing (10.0 stalk. m-1 plant  density) and terrace sowing method, respectively (Table  2).

In this study, it’s clear that leaf area index was increasing  with increasing the intra-row spacing till to 20 cm intra row spacing and decreasing again, the possible reasons  for the highest leaf area for ridging sowing method at the  medium intra-row spacing (20 cm) might be due to the  optimum conditions and ability of plant to uptake its  sufficient needs from soil solution and solar radiation  interception.

These results were agreed with (Ngugi et al,  2013), he mentioned that lower plant population got  more nutrients and water compared to higher  population, thus contributed increased leaf area unlike  high plant population density that reduced that reduced  low leaf area of maize decreased. Similarly (Tesfaye,  2020), reported that the main effects of both intra, inter row spacing and their interactions on leaf area were  significant (P < 0.05), also he found that the leaf area per  plant was increased with increasing inter and intra-row  spacing. 

Ali et al., 2017; Zhang et al. 2007 and Borra’s et al. 2003 reported that a less leaf area index (LAI) duration could  have resulted in response to increased plant population  in the field due to more leaf senescence rate during grain  filling. (Ali et al. 2017) mentioned that photosynthetic  efficiency, growth and development in maize are greatly  related to the effect of canopy architecture on the  vertical distribution of light within the plants canopy.

The  optimum plant density is one of the ways of increasing  the capture of solar radiation within the canopy.  However, the efficiency of the conversion of intercepted  solar radiation decreases with a high plant population  density because of mutual shading in the plants in the  field (Ali et al. 2017; Zhang et al. 2006). 

Number of rows per Ear 

The effects of sowing methods (SMs) and intra-row  spacing on the means of number of the rows per ear were  presented in (Table 3). Statistical analysis showed no  significant differences among the number of rows per ear  affected by sowing methods and intra-row spacing.  However, the ridging sowing method (SM2) scored a  higher level of rows per ear and achieved 13.49 over the  drilling and terrace sowing methods and they scored  13.40 and 13.15 respectively. 

The maximum number of rows/ear (14.27) was recorded  from the interactions of the ridging sowing method with  20 cm intra-row spacing, followed by the interaction of  the terrace sowing method with 30 cm intra-row spacing,  was achieved (14.07 cm). These results were agreed with  (Ibrahim et al. 2019), they found that the ridging sowing  method scored higher rates of ear number , number of  seeds/ ear, number of seeds per row and hay yield, also  mentioned that the increase in intra-row spacing from 20 cm to 25 cm significantly increase number of row/ ear,  100 seed weight and grain yield. 

Table 3: Effects of sowing methods and intra-row spacing on yield components (RE, KR and KE) of maize 

Treatments Number of  rows/earNumber of  kernels/rowNumber of  kernels/ Ear
IRSP1 (10  cm)13.50a 26.98bc 363.86b
IRSP2 (15  cm)12.96a 27.44b 355.81b
IRSP3 (20  cm)13.51a 30.52a 414.22a
IRSP4 (25  cm)12.91a 26.36cd 339.98b
IRSP5 (30  cm)13.87a 25.93d 359.40b
L. S. N.S. ** **
LSD (0.05) 0.25 0.33 10.15
SM1  (drilling)13.40a 26.78a 358.26
SM2  (ridging)13.49a 29.35b 397.05
SM3  (terrace)13.15a 26.21b 344.65
L.S. N.S. ** *
LSD (05) 0.33 0.33 10.51
SM1 IRSP1 13.00 27.20 353.27
SM1 IRSP2 12.67 27.67 350.90
SM1 IRSP3 13.40 29.77 399.03
SM1 IRSP4 13.93 25.27 351.90
SM1 IRSP5 14.00 24.00 336.20
SM2 IRSP1 13.60 27.87 379.03
SM2 IRSP2 13.47 28.33 381.23
SM2 IRSP3 14.27 33.93 484.14
SM2 IRSP4 12.60 28.07 354.20
SM2 IRSP5 13.53 28.53 386.63
SM3 IRSP1 13.87 25.87 359.27
SM3 IRSP2 12.73 26.33 335.30
SM3 IRSP3 12.87 27.87 359.47
SM3 IRSP4 12.20 25.73 313.83
SM3 IRSP5 14.07 25.27 355.37
L. S N.S. ** N.S.
LSD (0.05) 0.56 0.50 18.21

IRSP = Intra-row Spacing (10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 cm), SM= Sowing  Methods (1= Drilling (Flat), 2= Ridging, 3= Terrace), L. S= level  of significant. * Significant at 0.05%, ** significant at 0.01%.,  N.S. Not significant, LSD: Least Significant Different. 

Number of kernels per row 

The effects of sowing methods and intra-row spacing on  number of kernels per row were presented in (Table 3).  Statistical analysis showed highly significant differences  among the mean of number of kernels per row and it was  affected by three ways of sowing methods, intra-row spacing and interactions of SMs with intra row spacings.

 However, 20 cm intra-row spacing was achieved the  highest number (30.52) of kernels per row while the 30  cm intra-row spacing was scored the lowest number of  kernels per row (25.93). Moreover ridging sowing  method (SM2) scored the higher level of kernels per row  and achieved the 29.35 over the drilling and terrace  sowing methods and they were achieved 26.78 and 26.24  respectively.

The interaction effects of these cultural  practices, ridging sowing methods with 20 cm intra-row  spacing were achieved the highest number of kernels per  row, achieved 33.93 while the lowest number of kernels  per row were achieved by drilling and terrace sowing  method methods with (25 and 30 cm) intra-row spacing  respectively, they were scored 25.27 number of kernels  per row.

These results may due to the optimum  conditions of the 20 cm intra-row spacing with ridging  sowing method, crop was uptake the sufficient required  from the soil nutrients and moisture and optimum  distance between plants to intercepts their needs from  solar radiation for good photosynthetic.  

Number of kernels per ear 

Number of kernels per ear contributes to the economic  yield and represents the productive efficiency of any  cereal crop or crop variety (Kebede, 2019). 

Number of kernels per ear was highly significant (p < 0.01)  affected by the main effects of intra-row spacing,  significant (P > 0.05) affected by sowing methods (SMs)  and there were no significant effects by interactions  among the experimental variables. The highest number  of kernels per year (484.14, 414.22) was recorded at  interactions of ridging sowing with 20 cm intra-row  spacing followed by the 20 cm intra-row spacing, while  the lowest number of kernels per ear (313.85, 335.30)  was recorded under interactions of terrace sowing  method with 25 cm and 15 cm intra-row spacing  respectively (Table 3).

This variation might be due to the  fact that widely spaced plants encountered less  interplant competition than closely spaced plants and  thus exhibited better growth that contributed to more  number of kernels per ear. These results agreed with  (Mukhtar et al., 2012) reported that wider spacing (17.50  cm) produced higher number of kernels per ear (717.00)  while narrower spacing (10 cm) gave lower number of  grains (540.30). In same line also (Eskandarnejada, 2013)  reported that wide inter-row spacing of 30 cm produced  more number of kernels per ear than that 20 cm plant  spacing.  

1000-kernels weight

The effects of sowing methods and intra-row spacing on  means of 1000-kernel weight were shown in (Table 4).  The main effects of intra-row spacing were highly  significant (P < 0.01) on thousand kernel weight.  However, the sowing methods and their interactions  were not significant with increase intera-row spacing,  thousand kernels weight increased, where the highest  thousand kernels weight (325.72 g) was recorded at the  20 cm intra-row spacing, whereas, the lowest (235.0 g)  was recorded at the 25 cm intra-row spacing. The highest  1000-grain weight 358.0 g was recorded at interaction of  20 cm intra-row spacing combined with ridging sowing  method. The parameter of increase in 1000-grain weight  was reflected in the grain yield increase confirming its  contributive factor for grain yield. 

Thousand kernel weights were increased with increasing  of intra-row spacing till to 20 cm and decreased again,  this might be due to the optimum condition to assimilate  partitioning between higher numbers of kernels used in  connection with the decreased interplant competition  that lead to increased plant capacity, for utilizing the  environmental inputs (solar radiation interception, wind  and soil aeration) addition to agronomic practices with  additives like fertilizers and water in building a great  amount of metabolites to be used in developing new  tissues and increasing its yield components.

These results  were agreed with (Kandil et al., 2017), reported that  maize hybrids i.e. Varieties have different response to  agronomic characters and grain yield.

Also (Alias et al.,  2010; El-metwally, 2011) showed a significant difference  between plant heights, number of ears/ plant, LAI,  number of seeds/ row, grain weight/ ear and grain yield. (Fernandez et al., 2012) reported that single-row planting  at low plant populations produced the highest grain  weight. 

Grain yield 

Grain yield was shown in (Table 4). Statistical analysis  showed a significant (p > 0.05) affected by the  interactions of the sowing method with intra-row  spacing. Accordingly, the highest grain yield (8.33 ton. ha 

1) was obtained in a combination of the ridging method  with 20 cm intra-row spacing, while the lowest grain yield  (3.53 ton. ha-1) was obtained from the terrace sowing  method in combination with the narrowest intra-row  spacing 10 cm.  

The possible reason for the lowest grain yield at the  narrowest spacing might be due to the presence of  competition of plants per unit area for solar radiation  interception, moisture, available nutrients and other  sources in the soil. This indicated that high plant population per unit area that could not get better  available growth factors like moisture, nutrients, light,  and space could not offset the grain yield obtained from  high plant population per unit area.  

Table 4: Effects of sowing methods and intra-row  spacing on yield components (1000 Kernels weight and  grain yield) of maize 

Treatments 1000-Kernels. wt (g) Yield. T.ha-1
IRSP1 (10 cm) 236.7b 4.74c
IRSP2 (15 cm) 242.44b 5.70b
IRSP3 (20 cm) 325.72a 6.99a
IRSP4 (25 cm) 235.00b 5.07c
IRSP5 (30 cm) 243.00b 4.86c
L. S. ** **
LSD (0.05) 8.22 0.15
SM1 (drilling) 252.90a 5.63b
SM2 (ridging) 265.20a 6.35a
SM3 (terrace) 251.60a 4.43c
L.S. N.S. **
LSD (05) 7.39 0.07
SM1 IRSP1 237.67 5.13
SM1 IRSP2 245.33 5.93
SM1 IRSP3 324.50 7.27
SM1 IRSP4 218.33 4.80
SM1 IRSP5 238.67 5.03
SM2 IRSP1 240.67 5.57
SM2 IRSP2 240.67 6.4
SM2 IRSP3 358.00 8.33
SM2 IRSP4 245.33 5.83
SM2 IRSP5 241.33 5.60
SM3 IRSP1 231.67 3.53
SM3 IRSP2 241.33 4.77
SM3 IRSP3 294.67 5.37
SM3 IRSP4 241.33 4.57
SM3 IRSP5 249.00 3.93
L. S N.S. *
LSD (0.05) 12.79 0.26

IRSP = Intra-row Spacing (10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 cm), SM= Sowing  Methods (1= Drilling (Flat), 2= Ridging, 3= Terrace), L. S= level  of significant. * Significant at 0.05%, ** significant at 0.01%.,  N.S. Not significant, LSD: Least Significant Different. 

Previous research reveals indicated that plants grown on  wider spacing absorb more nutrients and solar radiation  for improved photosynthesis and hence produce better  grain yield on an individual basis, but yield per unit area  reduced due to a thin and low plant stand on unit area.  (Ibrahim and Elhassan, 2019), mentioned in the  conclusion study that among the three sowing methods  ridge method scored the highest rates of the majority of  the measured characters. As far as the Intra-row spacing  30 cm and 40 cm scored the highest levels of almost all  measured characters. 

Within the three varieties used, the variety113 gave  highest levels of all measured attributes. The  combination of (drilling) Flat× 40 cm× V113 and (drilling)  Flat ×30 cm× V113 of the interaction between the three  treatments during the first season and the combination  of (drilling) Flat× 20 cm V113 during the second season  gave the highest levels of yield in Kg.ha-1. 

Conclusion and Recommendation 

From these findings, we are recommending the following  ridging sowing method and 20cm intra-row spacing in this  area and variety. 


The authors gratefully acknowledge to the management  team of the College of Agricultural Studies, Sudan  University of Science and Technology for their unlimited  support in accomplishing this work over two consecutive  years. 


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