Increased optimal plant density is necessary in ensuring future food security by increasing crop productivity. However, maintaining relatively high plant density has to overcome two challenges i.e. Kernel kernel abortion and stalk lodging. This paper reviewed the maize response to increased plant density and the impacts of increased plant density on maize productivity. Increased plant density induces elevated plant height, causes low photosynthetic capacity, limits the carbohydrate supply and increases kernel abortion. Also, increased plant density incurs a high risk of stalk lodging due to increased ear height and diminished stem diameter associated with reduced vascular bundles that provide, mechanical force. This review proposes a potential capacity of sucrose storage in stalk for tackling kernel abortion and stalk lodging. The mechanisms of boosting stem sugar storage with more efficient unloading, transporting, and storage in internodes are discussed.
Keywords: Interplant competition, morphology, kernel abortion, stalk lodging resistance, sugar metabolism.