Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Plant and Soil Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Chad D. Lee


Corn (Zea mays L.) defoliation experiments have been conducted for more than 120 years. However, there is limited data on the effect of row width on defoliation in modern hybrids. A two-year experiment was conducted in Lexington, Kentucky with two hybrids (113 relative maturity (RM) and 120 RM), two row widths (38 and 76 cm) and a combination of defoliation timings and severities: 0% defoliation (control), V7-100%, V14-50%, V14-100%, R2-50% and R2-100%. No yield difference among hybrids was observed in 2012. Yields were 26% greater in 38-cm rows than 76-cm rows in 2012. For 2013, corn yield for 38-cm was 10% greater, but hybrid, row width and defoliation interacted. Lowest yields were caused by V14-100% followed by R2-100%. Defoliations of V14-50% and R2-50% reduced yields in some cases. Complete defoliations at V7 did not reduce yields in most comparisons. Light interception below 80% during the critical period was enough to attain maximum yields in defoliated plants. Kernel number and kernel weight were most reduced by V14-100% and R2-100% defoliations, respectively. There is a potential for narrow rows to reduce grain yield losses after a defoliation event, when compared with wide rows.