The effect of plant density with different row spacing on quality of the fatty acid composition and grain yield of sunflower
This research was aimed to assess the influence of density with different row spacing on sunflower crop in two different locations in southern Italy. The experiment was laid out in a randomized block design with four replicates. It involved the comparison of sunflower grown in the field on 25 m2 (5 x 5 m) plots at three plant densities (7.5, 5.0 and 3.75 plants m-2), obtained by keeping a constant number of plants within the row (3 plants m-1) and varying the spacing between rows (0.4, 0.6 and 0.8 m). In the crops grown at the density of 7.5 plants m-2 (0.4 m row spacing) achene and oil yields were significantly lower as compared to the other treatments. Therefore, the mean values of the two trials did not show any statistical difference between the two densities of 3.75 and 5 plants m-2 (0.8 and 0.6 m row spacing, respectively). However, the superiority in the quality of the fatty acid composition was observed in the crops grown at lower density. Therefore, the row spacing of 0.8 m seems to be a good compromise between achene production and good acid composition of oil.
Key words: Helianthus annuus L, plant distribution, plant density, achene yield, oil fatty acid composition.