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  • 1 Agricultural Research institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Martonvásár Hungary
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Leafy hybrids represent a new direction in the breeding of silage maize. Not only does the increased number of leaves above the ear in these hybrids lead to an increase in dry matter production, but the large quantity of carbohydrates formed and stored in the leaves results in silage with better chemical quality. Many papers have been published abroad on this subject, but few data have been reported in Hungary.The present work aimed to examine the effect of genotype and year on six leafy and non-leafy silage maize hybrids over a period of four years (2002–2005), with special emphasis on the plant height, ear attachment height, leaf number, and fresh and dry matter yield.The results showed that the number of leaves above the ear was much higher for the two leafy hybrids (8.00 and 9.35) than the average of the other hybrids (5.56, averaged over the years). This trait was in close negative correlation (r 2 = −0.7346) with the ratio of ear attachment height to total plant height, a trait with strong genetic determination, little influenced by the year. In leafy hybrids the main ear was located far lower down, but the total plant height was similar to that of the other hybrids. The ratio of ear attachment height to plant height was 0.36 for the leafy hybrids, but ranged from 0.41 to 0.45 for the other hybrids (averaged over the years). In wetter years the hybrids were taller and had greater dry matter production per plant than in the dry year.

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