Field establishment and grain yield of maize affected by hydro-priming of differentially aged seeds
Kazem Ghassemi-Golezani*, Sohrab Mamnabi, Safar Nasrollahzadeh
A sub-sample of maize seeds (cv. SC-AR68) with a 100% germination was kept as control, and two other sub-samples were artificially deteriorated at 40 °C for 2 and 3 days, reducing normal germination to 98% and 93%, respectively. Consequently, three seed lots of maize with different levels of vigor were provided. Each seed lot was then divided into four sub-samples, one unprimed and the other three lots were primed in distilled water at 15 °C for 7, 14 and 21 hours, and then dried back to initial moisture content (about 20%) at a room temperature of 20–22 °C for 24 hours. The field experiment was arranged as factorial based on randomized complete block design with three replications. Although germination percentage of seed lots was not significantly affected by hydro-priming, germination rate and seedling dry weight were considerably enhanced as a result of seed priming. Hydro-priming for 21 hours enhanced seedling emergence rate of all seed lots with different levels of vigor. This hydro-priming duration also increased grain yield of maize by about 32%, although this superiority was not statistically significant. This advantage in grain yield of plants from primed seeds was related with rapid germination and seedling growth and early emergence in the field.
Keywords: Germination, grain yield, hydro-priming, seedling emergence, seed vigor