The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of population density and row spacing on field yield and other morphological characteristics of two commercial F1 maize hybrids of different biological cycle (Costanza and LG3535) in a four-year period. Field experiments were conducted in a split-split plot design, in two population densities and three types of row spacing, involving single or twin rows. Ten plants from each plot were selected randomly and plant height, ear emergence height, ear length, ear diameter, number of grain rows per ear, grains number per ear, grain weight per ear, spindle weight per ear, and spindle diameter were measured. Grain yield of each plot was measured and field yield, thousand kernel weight and bulk density were calculated. Four years of experimentation clarified that environmental conditions may distort all other effects of the factors studied. This study points out the best combination of plant density and row configuration. High populations and twin or narrow rows (50 cm) were found to be important for maximizing yield of modern maize hybrids. Differences between hybrids were not significant, although Costanza exhibited greater mean field yield performance (14,364 kg/ha). Plant density was a significant factor and yield was increasing from low to high plant population (from 13,900 to 14,527 kg/ha). Plant density and genetic materials affected thousand kernel weights that showed the highest value at low plant density (364 g). Row spacing showed a significant interaction with year. Generally, twin or narrow rows favored many characteristics, especially height characteristics. Plant height reached 320 cm and ear height reached 149 cm. Ear diameter was favored by low plant density. Some ear characteristics were found to be depended on the genotype behavior in the certain environmental conditions. For spindle weight per ear, a total interaction between years, row spacing, hybrids, and plant density was found. For spindle diameter, various significant interactions were found, including years (maximum also in 2009), row spacing, and plant density and also row spacing, hybrids, and plant density. Many correlations were found significant especially between yield and thousand kernel weight, spindle weight per ear, and ear diameter that may prove to be useful for plant breeders.
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