Effect of sorghum seed treatment in Burkina Faso varies with baseline crop performance and geographical location
Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] is a major subsistence crop throughout the region of Sahel. With the exception of seeds and labour, no agricultural inputs are in general used in sorghum production since the grain is of a relatively low commercial value and the risk of losing the crop to drought, flooding, etc. is substantial. A meta-analysis of 118 field experiments was carried out to identify conditions in which two protective seed treatments could support a yield increase of sorghum in Burkina Faso. The two treatments were: i) treatment with the pesticide Calthio C (thiram and chlorpyrifos) and ii) treatment with an aqueous extract from the plant clipta alba. Both treatments were found to produce a yield increase (Medians: Calthio C +199 kg ha-1, P<2x10-9; E. alba +90.5 kg ha-1 P<4x10-4). A strong relative effect of Calthio C on yield (+36%) was found for field experiments with a low baseline yield. A strong relative effect of E. alba extract on yield (+22%) was found for experiments with a low baseline of emergence. ANOVA of the 118 field tests showed that baseline crop performance (yield and emergence) and the effect of seed treatments were strongly linked to geographical location (twelve different villages included). Roots from sorghum in the village showing the strongest effect of both seed treatments (>40% yield increase) were found to carry a comparatively high load of the infectious ascomycetes: Fusarium equiseti, Macrophomina phaseolina and Curvularia lunata.
Key Words: Curvularia lunata, Fusarium equiseti, Macrophomina phaseolina, Sorghum bicolor