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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2021, Vol. 20 Issue (2): 482-493    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(20)63581-X
Section 3: Physiological mechanisms for closing yield and efficiency gaps Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
The effect of solar radiation change on the maize yield gap from the perspectives of dry matter accumulation and distribution
YANG Yun-shan1, 2*, GUO Xiao-xia1*, LIU Hui-fang3, LIU Guang-zhou2, LIU Wan-mao1, MING Bo2, XIE Rui-zhi2, WANG Ke-ru2, HOU Peng2, LI Shao-kun1, 2
1 The Key Laboratory of Oasis Eco-agriculture, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps/College of Agronomy, Shihezi University, Shihezi 832003, P.R.China 
2 Key Laboratory of Crop Physiology and Ecology, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs/Institute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, P.R.China 
3 College of Agronomy, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, P.R.China
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Abstract  The uneven distribution of solar radiation is one of the main reasons for the variations in the yield gap between different regions in China and other countries of the world. In this study, different solar radiation levels were created by shading and the yield gaps induced by those levels were analyzed by measuring the aboveground and underground growth of maize. The experiments were conducted in Qitai, Xinjiang, China, in 2018 and 2019. The maize cultivars Xianyu 335 (XY335) and Zhengdan 958 (ZD958) were used with planting density of 12×104 plants ha–1 under either high solar radiation (HSR) or low solar radiation (LSR, 70% of HSR). The results showed that variation in the solar radiation resulted in a yield gap and different cultivars behaved differently. The yield gaps of XY335 and ZD958 were 8.9 and 5.8 t ha–1 induced by the decreased total intercepted photosynthetically active radiation (TIPAR) of 323.1 and 403.9 MJ m–2 from emergence to the maturity stage, respectively. The average yield of XY335 was higher than that of ZD958 under HSR, while the average yield of ZD958 was higher than that of XY335 under LSR. The light intercepted by the canopy and the photosynthetic rates both decreased with decreasing solar radiation. The aboveground dry matter decreased by 11.1% at silking and 21% at maturity, and the dry matter of vegetative organs and reproductive organs decreased by 9.8 and 20.9% at silking and by 12.1 and 25.5% at physiological maturity, respectively. Compared to the HSR, the root weights of XY335 and ZD958 decreased by 54.6 and 45.5%, respectively, in the 0–60 cm soil layer under LSR at silking stage. The aboveground and underground growth responses to different solar radiation levels explained the difference in yield gap. Selecting suitable cultivars can increase maize yield and reduce the yield gaps induced by variation of the solar radiation levels in different regions or under climate change.
Keywords:  maize       solar radiation       yield gap       cultivar  
Received: 13 April 2020   Accepted: 28 January 2021
Fund: This work was financially supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFD0300110, 2016YFD0300101), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31871558) and the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, 2015CB150401).
Corresponding Authors:  LI Shao-kun, Tel/Fax: +86-10-82108891, E-mail:; HOU Peng, Tel/Fax: +86-10-82108595, E-mail:    
About author:  YANG Yun-shan, E-mail:

Cite this article: 

YANG Yun-shan, GUO Xiao-xia, LIU Hui-fang, LIU Guang-zhou, LIU Wan-mao, MING Bo, XIE Rui-zhi, WANG Ke-ru, HOU Peng, LI Shao-kun. 2021. The effect of solar radiation change on the maize yield gap from the perspectives of dry matter accumulation and distribution. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 20(2): 482-493.

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