The effects of nitrogen (N) fertiliser rate and irrigation on seed yield and its components were evaluated for signal grass (Urochloa decumbens (Stapf) R.D. Webster; syn. of Brachiaria decumbens Stapf) cv. Basilisk in a field experiment in Umuarama, Paraná, Brazil. Two water regimes (irrigated and non-irrigated) and four nitrogen (N) fertiliser rates (0, 25, 50 and 75 kg ha–1) were applied to perennial signal grass crops in a split-plot randomised complete block design with three replications. In two consecutive harvests, favourable rainfall resulted in irrigation having limited influence on most measurements, and the combined application of irrigation and N fertiliser did not improve seed yield. Compared with the nil N, the highest N application rate significantly increased seed yield for the first crop (266 vs 498 kg ha–1) and the second crop (104 vs 286 kg ha–1). Nitrogen fertilisation significantly increased number of seed per area, reproductive tiller density and plant biomass at harvest for the first and second crops. Harvest index, 1000-seed weight, reproductive tiller weight, number of spikelets per panicle and number of seeds per panicle were unaffected by N rate. Harvest index ranged from 1.10% to 3.63% and 1000-seed weight from 2.15 to 3.36 g. There were no treatment effects on number of days to flowering or anthesis. Fertilisation with 75 kg N ha–1 for the first crop and 50–75 kg N ha–1 for the second crop maximised signal grass seed yield.
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Vol. 71 • No. 3