Abstract

The amount of dry matter produced during various stages of corn growth is a important variable to be taken into consideration. However, the lack of drying facilities makes its measurement a difficult task in the fields. A simple method to convert the fresh weight of a crop in the field into dry weight, could be an answer to that problem. In this study, we calculated the relationship between fresh and dry weight of corn stovers, over several, growth, stages of eight corn cultivars of different vigour and maturity period, at two Mexican locations. The differences between cultivars were for percent stover dry weight (%SDW) most evident in the second half of the grain growth stage, when late cultivars showed less humidity than the early ones. The % SDW was regressed against the phenological developmental stage and expressed as a ratio against antesis (R, days to sampling /days to 50% antesis). The equations (R2 = 0.97 - 0.99) with best results were: Early maturing cultivars: %SDW = 12.6 + 0.94R2 + 1.68R4; Late: %SDW = 16.1 - 4.00 R2 + 3.36R4. There were no consistant differences among cultivars with different vigour levels, even though certain differences were noted among the locations and they were attributed to differences in relative humidity. We describe a protocol for determining the dry weight of corn stover by area unit (t/ha) when drying conditions are not available, by utilizing only a scale and a ruler.We also suggest a method to calculate percent dry matter for a real plant parts (including grain).