Corn (Zea mays L.) Response to Hybrid, Row Spacing, and Plant Populations in the Blacklands of Central Texas


  • James Grichar Texas A&M AgriLife Research



Twin Row, Single Row, Plant Height, Maize, K Ear Placement


Field studies were conducted during the 2013 and 2014 growing seasons in central Texas near Taylor (30.5326o N; 97.4548o W) to determine the effect of hybrid, row spacing, and plant populations on corn growth and yield.  Two corn hybrids (BH 8844 and BH 8900) were compared at 53,000, 62,000, and 71,000 plants ha-1 planted one row on a single bed or twin rows (spaced approximately 20 cm apart) on a single bed. Plant counts were taken 4 to 6 wk after planting while ear height measurements were taken approximately four wk prior to corn harvest. Crop yield was determined by harvesting all eight rows of each plot with a combine. Weights were adjusted to 12% moisture. Experimental design was a factorial arrangement using a randomized complete block design with corn hybrid (2), row spacing (2), and seeding rates (3) as factors.  Data were analyzed using PROC GLM with SAS (SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, NC) and treatment means separated by Fisher's protected least significant difference test at P = 0.05.  Plant height was not affected by plant populations or row spacing as only hybrid response was significant with BH 8900 being taller in both years. Row spacing affected ear height in one of two years with the twin row spacing having a taller ear placement in the dryer year. No differences were seen with ear placement with respect to plant populations. In the dry year, yield of BH 8844 decreased as plant populations increased; however, no differences were noted with BH 8900.  In the wet year, the inverse was seen with increased yield with higher populations with both hybrids. The twin row system increased BH 8900 yield in 2013. In 2014, with BH 8844, the single row system outyielded twin row and no differences noted with BH 8900.  The results were quite variable and this was due in part to rainfall events in the two years.  Plant and ear height was influenced by hybrid while yield response was somewhat affected by population and row spacing.  A hybrid x row width response was noted indicating that certain hybrids will respond to row spacing more than others.


Download data is not yet available.


Andrade, F. H., Calvino, P., Cirilo, A., and Barbieri, P. (2002). Yield response to narrow rows depend on increased radiation interception. Agron. J. 94: 975-980.

Balkcom, K. S., Satterwhite J. L., Arriaga F. J., Price A. J., and van, E. (2011). Conventional and glyphosate-resistant maize yields across plant densities in single- and twin-row configurations. Field Crops Res. 120: 330-337.

Besler, B. A., Grichar, W. J., Senseman, S. A., Lemon, R. G., and Baughman, T. A. (2008). Effects of row pattern configurations and reduced (1/2X) and full rates (1X) of imazapic and diclosulam for control of yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) in peanut. Weed Technol. 22: 558-562.

BH Genetics. 2016 corn products. (2016). Avaliable: [16 Februry 2016].

Bremner, J., Frost, A., Haub, C., Mather, M., Ringheim, K., and Zuehlke, E. (2010). World population highlights: key finding from PRB’s 2010 world population data sheet. Population Reference Bulletin. 65(2): 1-14.

Brown, R. H., Beaty, E. R., Ethredge, W. J., and Hayes, D. D. (1970). Influence of row width and plant populations on yield of two varieties of corn (Zea mays L.). Agron J. 62: 767-770.

Bryant, H. H., Touchton, J. T., and Moore, D. P. (1986). Narrow rows and early planting produce top grain sorghum yields. Highlights Agric. Res. Al., Ag. Exp. Sta.33: 5.

Bullock, D. G., Nielsen, R. L., and Nyquist, W. E. (1988). A growth analysis comparison of corn growth in conventional and equidistant plant spacing. Crop Sci. 28: 254-258.

Conley, S. P., Stevens, W. G., and Dunn, D. D. (1995). Grain sorghum response to row spacing, plant density, and planter skips. Crop Management. doi:10.1094/CM-2005-0718-01-RS.

Duvick, D. N. (1997). Genetic rates of gain in hybrid maize yields during the past 40 years. Maydica. 12: 187-196.

Duvick, D. N. and Cassman, K. G. (1999). Post-green revolution trends in yield potential of temperate maize in the North-Central United States. Crop Sci. 39: 1622-1630.

Fulton, J. M. (1970). Relationships among soil moisture stress, plant populations, row spacing, and yield of corn. Can. J. Plant Sci.50: 31-38.

Gerik, T. J. and Neely, C. L. (1987). Plant density effects on main culm and tiller development of grain sorghum. Crop Sci. 27: 1225-1230.

Grichar, W. J. (2007a). Planting date, cultivar, and seeding rate effects on soybean production along the Texas Gulf Coast. Crop Management. doi:10.1094/CM-2007-1101-01-RS.

Grichar W. J. (2007b). Row spacing, plant populations, and cultivar effects on soybean production along the Texas Gulf Coast. Crop Management. doi:10.1094/CM-2007-0615-01-RS.

Haegele, J. W., Becker, R. J., Henninger, A. S., and Below, F.E. (2014). Row arrangement, phosphorus fertility, and hybrid contributions to managing increased plant density of maize. Agron. J. 106: 1838- 1846.

Hammer G. L., Dong, Z., McLean, G., Doherty, A., Messina, C., Schussler, J., Zinselmeier, C., Paskiewicz, S., and Cooper, M. (2009). Can changes in canopy and /or root system architecture explain historical maize yield trends in the US Corn Belt? Crop Sci. 49: 299-312.

Hodgen. P. (2007). Individual corn plant nitrogen management. Ph D. Dissertation. Univ. Nebraska. Lincoln, NE. p. 4-29.

Johnson. W. C., III, Prostko, E. P., Mullinix, B. G., Jr. (2005). Improving the management of dicot weeds in peanut with narrow row spacings and residual herbicides. Agron. J. 97: 85-88.

Jones, O. R. and Johnson, G.L. (1991). Row width and plant density effects on Texas High Plains sorghum. J. Prod. Agric. 4:613-621.

Kasperbauer, M. J. and Karlen, D. L. (1994). Plant spacing and reflected far-red light effects on photosynthesis allocation in corn seedlings. Crop Sci. 34: 1564-1569.

Kratochvil, R. J. and Taylor, R. J. (2005). Twin-row corn production: an evaluation in the Mid-Atlantic Delmarva Region. Crop Manag. 2005. doi:10.1094/CM-2005-0906-01-RS.

LaFarge, T. A. and Hammer, G. L. (2002). Predicting plant leaf area production: shoot assimilate accumulation and portioning and leaf area ratio are stable for a wide range of sorghum production densities. Field Crops Res. 77: 137-151.

LaFarge, T. A and Hammer, G. L. (2002). Tillering in grain sorghum over a wide range of population densities: modeling dynamics of tiller fertility. Ann. Bot. 90: 99-110.

Lauer, J. (2006). Concerns about drought as corn pollination begins. Available: [22 February 2016].

[39] Lee, C. D. (2006). Reducing row widths to increase yield: Why it does not always work. Crop Management. doi:10:1094/CM-2006-0227-04-RV

Limon-Ortega, A., Mason, S. C., and Martin, A. R. (1998).Production practices improve grain sorghum and pearl millet competitiveness with weeds. Agron. J.90: 227-232.

McFarland, C. C. (2013). Hybrid, row width, and plant population effect on corn yield in Kentucky. Masters Thesis. Univ. Kentucky. Lexington. pp. 13-20.

National Climatic Data Center. (2016). Available: [15 February 2016].

Nelson, K. A. and Smoot, R. L. (2009). Twin- and single-row corn production in northeast Missouri. Crop Manage. doi:10.1094/CM-2009-0130-01-RS

Nielsen, R. L. (2007). Drought and heat stress effects on corn pollination. Available: [22 February 2016].

Novacek, M. J., Mason, S. C., Galusha, T. D., and Yaseen, M. (2013). Twin rows minimally impact irrigated maize yield, morphology, and lodging. Agron. J. 05: 268-276.

Ottman, M. J.and Welch, L. F. (1989). Planting patterns and radiation interception, plant nutrient concentration, and yield in corn. Agron. J. 81: 167-174.

Population Reference Bureau. (2010). World population data sheet. Available: [14 February 2016].

Rossman, E. C. and Cook, R. L. (1966). Soil preparation and date, rate, and pattern of planting. In: Pierce, W. H. (ed.), Advances in Corn Production: Principals and Practices. Iowa State University Press, Ames, IA. 1966;53-101.

SAS Institute Incorporated. (2007). SAS/STAT User’s Guide: Statistics, Version 9.1, SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA. 204 p.

Shibles, R. M., Lovely, W. G., and Thompson, H. E. (1966). For corn and soybeans, narrow rows. In Iowa Farm Sci. 20: 3-6.

Staggenborg, S. A., Fjell, D. L., Devlin, D.L., Gordon, W. B., and Marsh, B. H. (1999). Grain sorghum response to row spacings and seeding rates in Kansas. J. Prod. Agric. 12: 390-395.

Teasdale, J. R. (1995). Influence of narrow row/high population corn (Zea mays) on weed control and light transmittance. Weed Technol. 9: 113-118.

Tharp, B. E. and Kells, J. T. (2001). Effect of glufosinate-resistant corn (Zea mays) population and row spacing on light interception, corn yield, and common lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) growth. Weed Technol. 15: 413-418.

Thelen, K. D. (2006). Interaction between row spacing and yield: Why it works. Crop Management. doi: 10.1094/CM-2006-0227-03-RV.

Van Roekel, R. J. and Coulter, J. A. (2012). Agronomic responses of corn hybrids to row width and plant density. Agron. J. 104: 612-620.

Van Roekel, R. J. and Coulter, J. A. (2011). Agronomic responses of corn to planting date and plant populations. Agron. J.103: 1414-1422.

Widdicombe, W. D. and Thelen, K. D. (2002). Row width and plant population effects on corn grain production in the northern corn belt. Agron. J. 94: 1020-1023.




How to Cite

Grichar, J. (2018). Corn (Zea mays L.) Response to Hybrid, Row Spacing, and Plant Populations in the Blacklands of Central Texas. JOURNAL OF ADVANCES IN AGRICULTURE, 8(1), 1214–1223.