Maize seed quality during storage can decline to a level that may make the seed unacceptable for planting purpose. A factorial experiment randomized in complete block design with three replications was conducted during 2011/12 and 2012/13 planting seasons. The experiment comprised of three cropping systems (cowpea-maize rotation, monocropping maize and intercropped maize), three sites (Potchefstroom, Taung and Rustenburg) and two rates of nitrogen fertilizers applied in kg ha-1 at each site (0 and 95 at Potchefstroom, 0 and 92 at Rustenburg, 0 and 113.5 at Taung). The experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of cropping system, site and nitrogen fertilization on maize seed quality. Maize seeds harvested from Potchefstroom and Rustenburg had significantly (P < 0.05) higher oil content of 4.4% than maize seeds harvested from Taung. Maize plots applied with nitrogen fertilizer had significantly (P < 0.05) higher seeds protein content of 8.7% than maize plots without nitrogen fertilizer application. Maize seeds harvested from Potchefstroom had significantly (P < 0.05) higher starch content of 71.8% than maize seeds harvested from Rustenburg and Taung. Cowpea- maize rotation and intercropped maize had significantly (P < 0.05) higher seed phosphorus content of 0.50 and 0.52%, respectively than monocropped maize. In this study, site as factor played a vital role on quality of maize seeds. Maize seed quality was improved significantly by the interaction effect of site x season. There was correlation between soil N-NO3 and maize seed starch and protein content.
E. T. Sebetha
Food Security and Safety Niche Area, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, North Private Bag X2046, Mmabatho 2735, South Africa
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