How plant population effects yield

(Written By: Written By Aqib Hussain Sial)

The number of plant required per unit area to achieve the highest yield will depend on the nature of the crop and its environment. This number cannot be too small, nor can be too large. Maximum exploitation of the factor needed for growth is achieved only when plant population exercises maximum pressure on all the production factors. As a result, the individual plants are under relatively severe stress because of inter-plant competition.

The relationship of grain yield to population is different.

As plant density increases to a maximum which remains constant within certain population range.

Then decline more or less steeply as population increases, even when moisture and nutrients are not limiting.

Interrelationship between population and factors affecting yield:

  • Moisture supply

The basic principle is that the optimum density of crop should be lower than normal under conditions of limited moisture supply.

  • Nutrient availability

 At highest levels of nutrients supply, more plants per unit area are required to produce maximum yield. As plant density increases up to a certain limits a crop will continue to respond to higher level of added nutrients provided moisture supply is adequate. At low levels of nutrient supply, dense population have adverse effects on crop yield.

Disadvantages of dense population:

i. Plant height:

With increase in crop density, the height of plant increases instead of lateral spreads.

ii. Lodging:

Crop stems are thinner, and due to more height crop is more subjected to lodging.

iii. Plant Mortality:

In every dense crop, there is competition among plants results in mortality of some plants.

iv. Disease Resistance:

In more closely sown crop there is a rapid spread of diseases

v. Maturity:

Maturity is generally delayed by one day for each additional plant per square meter

vi. Root system:

The extent and distribution pattern of root system are mark ably influenced by plant population. Generally widely spaced plants develop a circular distribution of roots and in high densities root system of individual plants interpenetrating to high degree.


The plant population is according to the availability of moisture and nutrients. The number of plants cannot be too small, nor can it be too large.

About Author:

Written By Aqib Hussain Sial

Department of Agronomy

University of Agriculture Faisalabad


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I completed my B.SC(Hons) in Agri Extension major from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. I am Director, Agrihunt.
I am also Deputy Editor, The Veterinary News and Views.

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