Growth and Leaf Area Index Simulation in Maize (Zea mays L.) Under Small-Scale Farm Conditions in a Sub-Saharan African Region


Different crop models including MAIZE Ceres, STICS and other approaches have been used to simulate leaf area index (LAI) in maize (Zea mays L.). These modeling tools require genotype-specific calibration procedures. Studies on modeling LAI dynamics under optimal growth conditions with yields close to the yield potential have remained scarce. In the present study, logistic and exponential approaches have been developed and evaluated for the simulation of LAI in maize in a savannah region of the DR-Congo. Data for the development and the evaluation of the model were collected manually by non-destructive method from small farmers’ field. The rate of expansion of the leaf surface and the rate of change of leaf senescence were also simulated. There were measurable variations among sites and varieties for the simulated height of maize plants. At all sites, the varieties with short plants were associated with expected superior performance based on simulation data. In general, the model underestimates the LAI based on observed values. LAI values for the genetically improved maize varieties (Salongo 2, MUS and AK) were greater than those of the unimproved local variety (Local). There were significant differences for K, b, Ti, LAI, Tf, and parameters among models and varieties. In all sites and for all varieties, the growth rate (b) was higher, while the rate of senescence (a) was lower compared to STICS estimates.

Share and Cite:

J. Lukeba, R. Vumilia, K. Nkongolo, M. Mwabila and M. Tsumbu, "Growth and Leaf Area Index Simulation in Maize (Zea mays L.) Under Small-Scale Farm Conditions in a Sub-Saharan African Region," American Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 3, 2013, pp. 575-583. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2013.43075.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Food and Agriculture Organization Corporate Statistical Database, 2012.
[2] R. H. Ellis, R. J. Summerfield, G. O. Edmeardes and E. H. Robert, “Photoperiod, Temperature, and the Interval from Sowing to Tassel Initiation in Diverse Cultivars of Maize,” Crop Sciences, Vol. 32, No. 5, 1992, pp. 1225-1232. doi:10.2135/cropsci1992.0011183X003200050033x
[3] J. J. Hanway, “Internode Lengths at Different Developmental Stages of Corn,” Agronomy Journal, Vol. 62, No. 1, 1970, pp. 116-117. doi:10.2134/agronj1970.00021962006200010038x
[4] M. R. Thiagarajah and L. A. Hunt, “Effects of temperature on Leaf Growth in Corn (Zea mays),” Canadian Journal of Botany, Vol. 60, No. 9, 1982, pp. 1647-1652. doi:10.1139/b82-213
[5] J. R. Porter, P. D. Jamieson and D. R. Wilson, “Comparison of the Wheat Simulation Models AFRCWHEAT2, CERES-Wheat and SWHEAT for Nonlimiting Conditions of Crop Growth,” Field Crops Research, Vol. 33, No. 1-2, 1993, pp. 131-157. doi:10.1016/0378-4290(93)90098-8
[6] S. Landau, R. A. C. Mitchell, V. Barnett, J. J. Colls, J. Craigon, K. L., Moore and R. W. Payne, “Testing Winter Wheat Simulation Models’ Predictions against Observed UK Grain Yields,” Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Vol. 89, No. 2, 1998, pp. 85-99. doi:10.1016/S0168-1923(97)00069-5
[7] P. Stone and Z. Hochman, “If Interactive Decision Support Systems Are the Answer, Have We Been Asking the Right Questions?” In: T. Fisher, Ed., New Directions for a Diverse Planet, Proceedings of the 4th International Crop Science Congress, Brisbane, 26 September-1 October 2004, The Regional Institute Ltd., Brisbane, 2004.
[8] C. J. Birch, G. L. Hammer and K. G. Rickert, “Improved Methods for Predicting Individual Leaf Area and Leaf Senescence in Maize (Zea mays),” Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, Vol. 49, No. 2, 1998, pp. 249-262. doi:10.1071/A97010
[9] L. M. Dwyer and D. W. Stewart, “Leaf Area Development in Field-Grown Maize,” Agronomy Journal, Vol. 78, No. 2, 1986, pp. 334-343.
[10] T. D. Setiyono, A. Weiss, J. Spcht, A. M. Bastidas, K. G. Cassman and A. Dobermann, “Understanding and Modeling the Effect of Temperature and Daylength on Soybean Phenology under High-Yield Conditions,” Field Crop Research, Vol. 100, No. 2, 2007, pp. 257-271. doi:10.1016/j.fcr.2006.07.011
[11] C. A. Jones and J. R. Kiniry, “CERES-MAIZE: A Simulation Model of Maize Growth and Development,” Texas A&M University Press, College Station, 1986, p. 194.
[12] P. S. Carberry, R. C. Muchow and R. L. Mccown, “Testing the CERES-Maize Simulation Model in a Semi-Arid Tropical Environment,” Field Crops Research, Vol. 20, No. 4, 1989, pp. 297-315. doi:10.1016/0378-4290(89)90072-5
[13] P. S. Carberry, G. L. Hammer and R. C. Muchow, “Modeling the Genotypic and Environmental Control of Leaf Area Dynamics in Grain Sorghum. III Senescence and Prediction of Green Leaf Area,” Field Crops Research, Vol. 33, No. 3, 1993, pp. 329-351. doi:10.1016/0378-4290(93)90089-6
[14] N. Stapper and G. F. Arkin, “Cornf: A Dynamic Growth and Development Model for Maize (Zea mays L.),” Program and Model Documentation No. 80-2, Texas A&M University, College Station, 1980.
[15] R. C. Muchow, T. R. Sinclair and J. M. Bennett, “Temperature and Solar Radiation Effects on Potential Maize Yield across Locations,” Agronomy Journal, Vol. 82, No. 2, 1990, pp. 338-343. doi:10.2134/agronj1990.00021962008200020033x
[16] H. L. Boogard, C. A. Van Diepen, R. P. Rotter, J. M. C. A. Cabrera and H. H. Van Laar, “User’s Guidef for the WOFOST 7.1 Crop Growth Simulation Model and WOFOST Control Central 1.5. Technical Document 52,” DLO Winand Staring Center, Wageningen, 1998.
[17] K. J. Boote, J. W. Jones, G. Hoogenboom, W. D. Batchelor and C. H. Porter, “CROPGRO. Plant Growth and Partitioning Model,” In: J. W. Jones, G. Hoogenboom, P. W. Wilkens, C. H. Porter and G. Y. Tsuji, Eds., Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer Version 4.0, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, 2003, pp. 1-102.
[18] N. Brisson, C. Gary, E. Justes, R. Roche, B. Mary, D. Ripoche, D. Zimmer, J. Sierra, P. Bertuzzi, P. Burger, F. Bussiere, Y. M. Cabidoche, P. Cellier, P. Debaeke, J. P. Gaudillere, C. Henault, F. Maraux, B. Seguin and H. Sinoquet, “An Overview of the Crop Model STICS,” European Journal of Agronmy, Vol. 18, No. 3-4, 2003, pp. 309-332. doi:10.1016/S1161-0301(02)00110-7
[19] N. Brisson, J. Wery and K. Boote, “Fundamental Concepts of Crop Models Illustrated by a Comparative Approach,” In: D. Wallach, D. Makowski and J. W. Jones, Eds., Working with Dynamic Crop Models, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2006, pp. 257-279.
[20] T. R. Sinclair, “Water and Nitrogen Limitation in Soybean Grain Production. 1. Model development,” Field Crop Research, Vol. 15, No. 2, 1986, pp. 125-141. doi:10.1016/0378-4290(86)90082-1
[21] A. M. Bastidas, T. D. Setiyono, A. Dobermann, K. G. Cassman, R. W. Elmore, G. L. Graef and J. E. Specht, “Soybean Sowing Date—The Vegetative, Reproductive, and Agronomic Impacts,” Crop Sciences, Vol. 48, No. 2, 2008, pp. 727-740.
[22] F. Affholder, E. Scopel, J. Madeira Neto and A. Capillon, “Diagnosis of the Productivity Gap Using a Crop Model. Methodology and Case Study of Small-Scale Maize Production in Central Brazil,” Agronomie, Vol. 23, No. 4, 2003, pp. 305-325. doi:10.1051/agro:2003004
[23] F. Affholder, P. Tittonell, M. Corbeels, S. Roux, N. Motisi, P. Tixier and J. Wery, “Ad Hoc Modeling in Agronomy: What Have We Learned in the Last 15 Years? Agronomy Journal, Vol. 104, No. 3, 2012, pp. 735-748. doi:10.2134/agronj2011.0376
[24] G. M. Muyayabantu, B. Kadiata and K. K. Nkongolo, “Response of Maize to Different Organic and Inorganic Fertilization Regimes in Monocrop and Intercrop Systems in a Sub-Saharan African Region,” Journal of Soil Sciences and Environmental Management, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2012, pp. 42-48.
[25] G. M. Muyayabantu, K. K. Nkongolo and B. Kadiata, “Analysis of Soil Nutrient Dynamic and Residual Effect Following Organic and Inorganic Fertilizations of an Oxisol,” Chemistry and Ecology, 2013.
[26] R. Bonhomme, F. Ruger, M. Derieux and P. Vincourt, “Relationships between Aerial Dry Matter Production and Intercepted Energy in Different Maize Genotypes,” Comptes rendus de l’Académie des Scienc, Paris, 1982, pp. 393- 398.
[27] B. Bennouna, L. Abderrahman and K. Said, “Modelling Parameters of Maize Growth in Marrakech,” Cahiers d’- études et de Recherches Francophones/Agricultures,” Vol. 14, No. 5, 2005, pp. 437-446.
[28] T. B. Daynard and W. G. Duncan, “Three-Dimensional Effects of Canopy Structure on Net Photosynthesis—A Simulation Model,” 61st Annual Meeting, American Society of Agronomy, Chicago, Vol. 61, 1969, p. 39.
[29] SAS Institute, “The SAS System for Windows. Release 8.02,” SAS Institute, Cary, 1999.
[30] E. C. Johnson, K. S. Fischer, G. O. Edmeades and A. F. E. Palmer, “Recurrent Selection for Reduced Plant Height in Lowland Tropical Maize,” Crop Sciences, Vol. 26, No. 2, 1986, pp. 253-260. doi:10.2135/cropsci1986.0011183X002600020008x
[31] D. J. Watson, “Comparative Physiological Studies on the Growth of Field Crops. I. Variation in Net Assimilation Rate and Leaf Area between Species and Varieties, and within and between Years,” Annals of Botany, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1947, pp. 41-76.
[32] M. M. Lufuluabo, R. V. Kizungu and K. K. Nkongolo, “Corn Leaf Development and Plant Growth: Adaptation of ‘STICS’ Simulation Model to Tropical Conditions in DR-Congo,” Agronomie Africaine, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2011, pp. 91-102.
[33] M. Nyanguila, “Effects of Selecting for Yield versus Yield Efficiency on Morphological and Physiological Traits of Tropical Maize,” Euphytica, Vol. 32, No. 2, 1983, pp. 659- 667. doi:10.1007/BF00021479
[34] D. Ristanovic, “Cereal Crops: Maize (Zea mays L.),” In: R. H. Raemaeker, Ed., Crop Production in Tropical Africa, DGIC (Directorate General for International Cooperation), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, External Trade and International Cooperation, Brussels, 2001, pp. 44-70.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.