6.4  Crop growth analysis

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Growth indices devised with single (isolated) plants (Section 6.1 et seq.) have helped identify genetic and environmental factors as sources of variation in NAR and/or LAR with consequences for RGR of both whole plants and their component organs. Leafiness was seen as a self-evident and important force for single plants when grown free from interference by neighbouring plants, and was quantified as LAR. However, plants rarely complete their life cycles as isolated individuals in either natural or managed ecosystems, growing instead as communities where mutual interference cannot be avoided. Biomass formed per unit area of land is then of more practical relevance than productivity per plant.