During the process of maize seed production, in order to ensure the genetic purity of parental forms of hybrid maize, an important work performed is the removal of male inflorescences from plants on mother rows. Hand detasseling has high precision but is labor-intensive. Mechanical detasseling offers the possibility to cover large acreages in a short period of time, but the number of leaves removed has a varying influence on plant performance and seed yield. The aim of this study was to simulate three types of damages on plants similar to those induced through mechanical detasseling and to assess the effects for five inbred lines during the course of three years. Results show that when tassels alone were removed, the average seed yield decreased an average of 4–21%. When two leaves were removed with the tassel, yield decreased an average of 22–31%, while when plants were cut above the main ear, seed yield decreased an average of 31–66%. Environmental conditions influenced seed yield, especially high temperatures during flowering. Yield response to tassel and leaves removal varied between the inbred lines. Genotype controls maize ear and kernel characters, while environmental factors exercise a strong influence on seed yield, due to the succession of years with contrasting weather conditions in a key phenophase. Within the trend of full mechanization in agriculture, identification of inbred lines that cope better with plant damage can assist in optimizing seed production.
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