Manipulating plant geometry to improve microclimate, grain yield, and harvest index in grain sorghum
Cultivar selection, planting geometry, and plant population are the key factors determining grain sorghum yields in water deficit areas. The objective of this study was to investigate whether clump geometry (three plants clustered) improves microclimate within crop canopy when plants are grown under varying water levels. In a 2-yr sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) greenhouse study, plants were grown at two geometries (clump and conventional evenly spaced planting, ESP), two water levels (high and low, representing well-watered and water-limited condition, respectively), and three soil surface treatments (lid covered, straw-mulched, and bare). Air temperature and relative humidity (RH) within the plant canopy were measured every five minutes at different growth stages.