Irrigation Science

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 25–34 | Cite as

Grain yield, evapotranspiration, and water-use efficiency of maize hybrids differing in drought tolerance

  • Baozhen Hao
  • Qingwu XueEmail author
  • Thomas H. Marek
  • Kirk E. Jessup
  • Jacob D. Becker
  • Xiaobo Hou
  • Wenwei Xu
  • Edsel D. Bynum
  • Brent W. Bean
  • Paul D. Colaizzi
  • Terry A. Howell
Original Paper


Adoption of drought-tolerant (DT) hybrids is a viable strategy for maize production in drought-prone environments. We conducted four-year field studies (2011–2014) to investigate yield, crop evapotranspiration (ETc), and water-use efficiency (WUE) in one conventional (N58L) and one DT hybrid (N59B-DT) under three water regimes (I100, I75, and I50, where the subscripts were the percentage of irrigation applied relative to meeting full ETc) and three plant densities. At I100 and I75, N59B-DT did not show advantage in yield and WUE relative to N58L, however, at I50 it showed an advantage of 8.5% and 10.5%, respectively. At I100 and I75, high plant density treatment had greater grain yield (9.1%) and WUE (9.4%) than low plant density. Comparing hybrids, N59B-DT had greater yield (5.9%) and WUE (7.3%) than N58L at high plant density. N59B-DT had large advantage over N58L in yield (18.0%) and WUE (26.2%) when the hybrids were grown under severe water deficit (I50) and high plant density (9.9 plants m−2). At I50, increasing plant density reduced yield (14.1%) for N58L but did not affect yield for N59B-DT. On average, plant density had no effect on seasonal ETc but N59B-DT had more seasonal ETc than N58L at I100 and I75. The results of this study indicate that DT hybrid was tolerant to high panting density. Planting a DT hybrid with a higher plant density may provide greater yield stability under water-limited conditions while also maintaining maximum yield potential when moisture is sufficient.



We are grateful to Texas A&M AgriLife Research staff of Chance Reynolds, Brad Parker, Cole Pope, Bella Porras, Bronc Finch, and Preston Sirmon for their help in field and laboratory work. This research was supported in part by Texas A&M AgriLife Research Cropping System Program, Syngenta-US Seeds, Inc., the USDA-Ogallala Aquifer Program, Key Science and Technology Program of Henan (172102110154), and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch Project, USA (TEX09438).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Baozhen Hao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qingwu Xue
    • 2
    Email author
  • Thomas H. Marek
    • 2
  • Kirk E. Jessup
    • 2
  • Jacob D. Becker
    • 3
  • Xiaobo Hou
    • 4
  • Wenwei Xu
    • 5
  • Edsel D. Bynum
    • 2
  • Brent W. Bean
    • 6
  • Paul D. Colaizzi
    • 7
  • Terry A. Howell
    • 7
  1. 1.School of Science and TechnologyXinxiang UniversityXinxiangChina
  2. 2.Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at AmarilloAmarilloUSA
  3. 3.DuPont Pioneer HybridsDalhartUSA
  4. 4.Department of Soil, Water and Environmental ScienceThe University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  5. 5.Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at LubbockLubbockUSA
  6. 6.United Sorghum CheckoffLubbockUSA
  7. 7.USDA-ARS, Conservation and Production Research LaboratoryBushlandUSA

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