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  • Author or Editor: F. Rácz x
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Twelve silage hybrids were included in field experiments in Martonvásár in 2007 and 2008 to compare the agronomic traits and chemical quality traits of leafy and non-leafy hybrids. The climatic data for the two experimental years differed considerably. The results reflected the differences in weather conditions. Thanks to the plentiful rainfall in 2008 the hybrids reached their genetically determined height (274.32 cm on average), while in 2007 the average height was only 238.03 cm. In both years a leafy hybrid was the tallest, while the shortest plants were non-leafy. The assimilation leaf area above the main ear was greatest for the five leafy hybrids in both years, with values of 0.35–0.45 m 2 per plant for conventional hybrids and 0.53–0.84 m 2 per plant for leafy hybrids, averaged over the two years. The larger leaf area in leafy hybrids could be attributed both to the larger number of leaves and to the fact that they were broader. The greatest ear mass per plant was produced by Mv Massil (198.66; 320.00 g), a leafy hybrid which also had the greatest leaf area above the main ear. In addition to large green mass (leaf, stalk), an ideal silage maize hybrid should also have satisfactory grain yield. Several of the leafy and non-leafy hybrids in the experiment gave favourable results. In the present experiment the highest starch content was recorded for a leafy hybrid, while the highest protein and oil contents were characteristic of early maturing, non-leafy hybrids. Nevertheless, three of the leafy hybrids had above-average protein content.

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Changes in the water content of 22 maize varieties were investigated during the period between physiological maturity and harvesting. It was found that neither the grain moisture, the cob moisture, the moisture content of the internode below the ear nor the thousand-kernel mass changed to a statistically significant extent. No significant water uptake or drying in excess of random variation, sufficient to influence the choice of harvesting date, could be detected during the test period.Nevertheless, considerable differences were recorded between the varieties for the moisture contents in the cob and in the internode below the ear. These could be of economic importance in choosing varieties and harvesting dates. The differences between the varieties can be attributed to the diverse genetic backgrounds, suggesting that breeding could lead to the development of maize varieties with low grain moisture at harvest.

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The water content of the grain, the cob and the internode below the ear, and the thousand-kernel mass of early (Mv 251, Ipoly) and late (Tisza, Mv 500) maize varieties were recorded three times a day between 7 and 17 November 2006.No daily drying was observed in the moisture content of the kernels, cobs or ear stalks. The only exception was the internode below the ear, which tended to dry gradually. Although significant differences were found between the varieties, these probably developed prior to the testing period, and did not change to any great extent during the measurements. From the point of view of harvest date, no substantial change can be expected in the equilibrium water content reached for each variety at different moisture levels, so it is unlikely that savings can be made on drying costs.

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Six single-cross hybrids and their parental lines were inoculated with the FG36 Fusarium graminearum isolate in 2005 and 2006. In both years the degree of infection increased after artificial inoculation for both the hybrids and the inbred lines compared with the level of natural infection. The more severe stalk infection recorded in 2005 than in 2006 could be attributed to the weather conditions during flowering and harvesting.The 18 genotypes examined exhibited different levels of resistance to fusarium stalk rot. It could be concluded from the results that the resistance level of the female parent was decisive in the inheritance of the response to fusarium stalk rot (female component-hybrid r = 0.88, male component-hybrid r = 0.39).Some genotypes may be severely affected in epidemic years, while exhibiting a lower rate of infection in years with lower pathogen pressure. This suggests that successful breeding for resistance can only be carried out efficiently by means of artificial inoculation.

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The adaptability of twelve single cross maize hybrids was investigated at five different locations in Hungary over a three-year period. The characters examined were individual plant production (total mass of the ears on a single plant), thousand kernel mass, number of kernel rows, ear length, number of kernels per row, shelling % and the assimilating leaf area above the main ear.Among these yield components, the individual plant production, the ear length, the number of kernels per row and the grain-cob ratio (shelling %) were influenced to the greatest extent by the year, followed by the variety and the location. The greatest average yield was achieved by the tested hybrids at all five locations in 1997 (263 g/plant). The average yields in 1998 and 1999 were significantly lower (221 and 203 g/plant, respectively). The outstanding yields achieved in 1997 could be attributed to the favourable ecological conditions, which led to the development of secondary ears in Keszthely and Sopronhorpács. At the other three locations there was only one ear per plant, but these ears were longer than in the following years. The greatest year effect was recorded in Sopronhorpács, where the individual plant production amounted to 305 g/plant in 1997 and 238 g/plant in the worst year, 1999. In Gyöngyös conditions were very dry in all three years, so the year effect was least pronounced at this location (grand mean of 195 g/plant in 1997 and 201 g/plant in 1999). Stability analysis was carried out using the coefficient of variance for individual plant production. Hybrids Mv 3, Mv 5, Mv 9 and Mv 12 were found to have the best adaptability. The shelling % was not significantly influenced by the location; the grain-cob ratio is relatively stable for maize hybrids. A correlation was found between the individual plant production and the leaf area above the main ear (R 2 =0.66). Hybrids with the largest leaf area above the main ear also had the greatest ear mass.

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The European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis Hübn.), which is to be found almost universally in Europe and America, is an extremely important pest from the economic point of view. Losses caused by the pest range from 250-1000 kg/ha depending on the degree of infestation, the year and the yield averages. This fact justifies protection measures in Hungary on the whole of the seed production and sweetcorn fields and on 40% of the commercial maize sowing area. In addition to the direct damage, indirect losses are also considerable, since the injuries caused by the pest facilitate infection by Fusarium species. For the above reasons it is worth reviewing the habits of this pest, the extent of the economic loss resulting from the damage, and ways of controlling it.

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