Among the main factors that influence higher maize yield are the use of more productive materials, plant arrangement more suitable to the cultivar, reduced spacing between rows and/or higher population density. In this context, the objective of this work was to evaluate the development and yield of maize under different plant densities using single and twin-row spacing configurations. The work was developed in the 2012/2013 harvest year, using a randomized block design, with four replications in a 5 x 5 factorial design, featuring five inter-row spacing arrangements (twin-rows: 0.4 x 0.2, 0.5 x 0.2, 0.6 x 0.2, 0.7 x 0.2 m; and conventional spacing between rows as control: 0.7 m) and five sowing densities (50,000; 65,000; 80,000; 95,000 and 110,000 plants ha-1). The study evaluated plant height and first ear insertion height, stem diameter, number of row per ear, 1,000-kernel weight and yield. The t-test (p = 0.05) was used to evaluate the effects of twin-row spacing arrangements and the contrast between twin-rows and control (single-row). Whenever the interaction between twin-row spacing arrangements and plant population was significant, the data were submitted to Response-Surface Methodology. As population density increased, there were reductions in stem diameter, number of rows per ear, 1,000-kernel weight and yield. The greatest plant heights, first ear insertion heights and yields were obtained in conventional spacing. Kernel yield responded negatively to plant density increase.
Key words: Crowding, plant arrangement, production system.
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