Abstract

In order to evaluate the effect of foliar application of iron and zinc sulfate on yield and yield components of forage corn (Hybrid 704 Single Cross), an experiment in a randomized complete block design with 3 replications was carried out. The treatments included the control (spraying solution with distilled water), spraying of micronutrients including iron sulfate [FeSO_{4}.7H_{2}O (20% Fe)], zinc sulfate [ZnSO_{4}.7H_{2}O (22% Zn)] and iron sulfate + zinc sulfate with a concentration of 5 in 1000 at the 4-leaves stage, 8-leaves stage and both stages. The results showed that the greatest height (with an average of 190 cm), shoot dry weight (with an average of 1774 g m^{-2}), the number of seeds in a row (with an average of 50), the number of rows (with an average of 17.3) and the number of seeds in a cob (with an average of 867) and the weight of a thousand seeds (average of 312 grams) were resulted from iron and zinc foliar spraying at both stages of 4 and 8 leaves, which increased by 15.3, 31.4, 11.3, 17.3, 28.3 and 20.3% compared to their lowest value (control), respectively. The results of this research indicated that the simultaneous foliar application of iron and zinc had a greater effect on the studied traits compared to the foliar application of each nutrient of iron and zinc alone. Therefore, in order to have forage with rather good characteristics, it is recommended to spray iron and zinc solution simultaneously at both 4 and 8-leaves stages.

**Background and Objective**: Forage corn is one of Iran's strategic and important crops, which plays a major role in supplying the required proteins. (Nabavi Moghadam et al., 2013; Goudarzi et al., 2013). Many soils in Iran are calcareous, which reduces the plant uptake of iron and zinc from the soil solution and reduces crop yields. Nutrient spraying is considered to be economically viable for the plant (Rasai et al., 2019). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of foliar spraying of iron and zinc sulfate on forage corn (*Zea mays *L.) growth parameters and yield components.

**Methods: **The experiment was carried out in a field near the village of Takhshi Mahalle, located 5 km northwest of Gorgan city with geographical coordinates (54° 17´ 56 ʺ N) (36° 51´ 52 ʺ E) in 2022. The experiment was conducted in a randomized complete block design with 3 replications. The treatments included control (no foliar spraying), foliar spraying of iron sulfate micronutrient elements [FeSO_{4}.7H_{2}O (20% Fe)], zinc sulfate [ZnSO_{4}.7H_{2}O (22% Zn)], and iron sulfate + zinc sulfate with a concentration of 5 per thousand in the 4-leaves stage, the 8-leaves stage and both stages. Foliar spraying was done in the early hours of the morning and drip irrigation was used. Plants were harvested at 120 days after planting, washed with distilled water and dried with tissue paper. Vegetative growth parameters and yield components including shoot fresh and dry weights, plant height, stem diameter, cob length, cob diameter, number of seeds per row, number of grains per cob, and 1000-grains weight were measured.

**Results: **The analysis of variance results for vegetative growth parameters, yield, and yield components showed that the effect of treatments on all the investigated traits was significant except for the number of leaves per plant, leaf area, and cob diameter. The greatest plant height (average of 190 cm), shoot dry weight (average of 1774 g m^{-2}), the number of seeds in a row (average of 50), the number of seed rows (average of 17.3) and the number of seeds in cobs (average of 867) were resulted from iron and zinc foliar spraying at both 4 and 8-leaf stages and the lowest amount was related to the control. The results also showed that the highest value for 1000-grains weight with an average of 312 g was obtained from iron and zinc foliar spraying at both 4 and 8-leaves stages, which had an increase equal to 12.7 and 9.5 percent compared to iron and zinc foliar spraying in the 8 and 4-leaves stage alone, respectively.

**Conclusion: **The results of this research indicated that simultaneous foliar spraying of iron and zinc had a greater effect on the studied traits compared to foliar spraying of each element of iron and zinc alone. Due to the limitations of iron and zinc elements in the soils of arid and semi-arid regions, foliar spraying is a practical method to increase vegetative growth parameters and yield components of forage corn. Therefore, it is recommended to apply simultaneous foliar spraying of iron and zinc at both the 4 and 8-leaves stages.

**References:**

1. Goudarzi, H., Kasraei, P., Zand, B., 2013. The effect of different concentrations of iron and zinc micronutrients on yield and yield components of Single Cross 260 corn. Environ. Stresses Plant Sci. 6(1), 49–61.

2. Nabavi Moghadam, R., Saberi, M.H., Sayyari, M.H., 2013. Effect of soil application of iron and manganese sulfate on quantitative and qualitative characteristics of forage maize Hybrid Single Cross 704. J. Crop Improv. 15(2), 75–86.

3. Rasai Far, M., Moradi Aghdam, A., Haji Hosni Asl, N., Hosseini, N., 2019. The effect of iron, zinc, manganese and copper foliar application on grain sorghum yield and yield components. Environ. Stresses Plant Sci. 2(4), 341–353.

In order to evaluate the effect of foliar application of iron and zinc sulfate on yield and yield components of forage corn (Hybrid 704 Single Cross), an experiment in a randomized complete block design with 3 replications was carried out. The treatments included the control (spraying solution with distilled water), spraying of micronutrients including iron sulfate [FeSO

1. Goudarzi, H., Kasraei, P., Zand, B., 2013. The effect of different concentrations of iron and zinc micronutrients on yield and yield components of Single Cross 260 corn. Environ. Stresses Plant Sci. 6(1), 49–61.

2. Nabavi Moghadam, R., Saberi, M.H., Sayyari, M.H., 2013. Effect of soil application of iron and manganese sulfate on quantitative and qualitative characteristics of forage maize Hybrid Single Cross 704. J. Crop Improv. 15(2), 75–86.

3. Rasai Far, M., Moradi Aghdam, A., Haji Hosni Asl, N., Hosseini, N., 2019. The effect of iron, zinc, manganese and copper foliar application on grain sorghum yield and yield components. Environ. Stresses Plant Sci. 2(4), 341–353.

Type of Study: Research |
Subject:
Availability of soil water and nutrients for plant

Received: 2023/10/21 | Accepted: 2024/03/6 | Published: 2024/06/18

Received: 2023/10/21 | Accepted: 2024/03/6 | Published: 2024/06/18

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