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Influence of sowing depth of different corn (Zea mays L.) cultivars on crop emergence and root system morphology

Research Scholar

Gabriel Loli Bazo, Horticulture and Crop Science (Brazil)
Luis O. Rehder
Peter R. Thomison
, Co-Researcher
Simone Silva, Co-Researcher
Mark Bennett, Faculty Mentor


Gabriel Loli Bazo is an agronomist who graduated at State University of Maringa in 2010. Currently, he is a master's program student in plant production in the postgraduate program in agronomy at the State University of Maringa. Gabriel is a visiting scholar at The Ohio State University and has been developing research in seed biology at the Ornamental Plant Germplasm Center.

Luis Otavio Rehder is a senior student in agronomy at the Federal University of Lavras, located in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Since his second year of college, Luis has been involved in research projects of corn and pepper seeds. Currently, he is a visiting scholar in the Ornamental Plant Germplasm Center at The Ohio State University.

What is the issue or problem addressed in your research?

Seed germination and emergence are influenced by soil temperature, moisture, and oxygen levels that change with planting depth. Sowing depth influences the number of nodal roots that support the corn plant. Seed emergence near the soil surface can potentially expose the seedlings to fluctuating temperatures and herbicides applied at planting.

What methodology did you use in your research?

The experiment was conducted during the growing season of 2012, in an area located at the Waterman Farm, in Columbus, Ohio. The experimental design was a randomized complete block design with four replications and arrangement of treatments in a 7X3 factorial design. We used 21 treatments, with 7 cultivars (P0210AM, 0448AMX, P0965AM1, P1352YXR, P2088AM1, and P35H42 P0891AM1) and three sowing depths (shallow - 2 inches, intermediate - 4 inches and deep - 6 inches). Seeds were planted on 06/06/2012. Soil temperature at 2 inches depth was 64,7ºF (18,2ºC). The data for all variables were subjected to analysis of variance at 5% probability (p <0.05) and in the presence of significant interaction, proceeded up the developments. The comparison of the cultivars was made by Fisher's LSD test (Least Significant Difference) (p <0.05) using the software SISVAR. The performance of the plants was arrested at stage V3 through measures including mesocotyl length and depth of the nodal roots. Plants were also evaluated at the time of coleoptile rupture, taking for measurements the soil surface as basis.

What are the purpose/rationale and implications of your research?

This study evaluated the influence of sowing depth on morphological characteristics of different cultivars of maize sown in the region of Central Ohio on a Kokomo silt loam soil. The optimal choice of seeding depth for a given cultivar can influence the emergence of plants and subsequent productivity.