Semi-dwarf tef lines for high seed yield and lodging tolerance in Central Ethiopia
Tef [Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter] is the major cereal crop in the Horn of Africa, especially in Ethiopia where it is a staple food for over 60% of its 90 million population. The crop performs better than other cereal crops under extreme environmental conditions. The grain of tef is not only nutritious but also gluten-free, the cause for celiac disease, which affects humans world wide. The objective of this study was to evaluate the morpho-agronomic performance of newly developed semi-dwarf tef genotypes for grain yield and yield related agronomic traits under diverse environmental conditions. Twenty-four tef lines were evaluated, along with one local and three standard checks, at three locations in the Central Ethiopia. The mean squares due to genotypes, locations and genotype by location interactions were highly significant (P<0.01) for all the studied traits. Three genotypes, namely RIL- 91, RIL-244 and RIL-11, gave the highest seed yield, ranging between 4.4 to 4.7 t ha-1, compared to the popular and widely cultivated tef variety called Quncho which gave 4.2 t ha-1. Genotypic and phenotypic coefficients of variations ranged from 0.002 to 173.9% and from 0.004 to 255.9%, respectively. The highest genetic advance (20.2 cm) and heritability estimates (86.7%) were obtained for plant height indicating that selection for this trait can be made easily. Grain yield showed significant and positive genotypic association with plant height, whole culm and second culm internode length, second culm internode diameter, number of spikelet per panicle and shoot biomass yield. Cluster analysis grouped the genotypes into six distinct classes. The first five principal components with eigenvalues greater than one accounted for 85% of the total variation. Generally,
this study identified tef genotypes with better grain yield and reasonable lodging tolerance for further evaluation and eventual release to the farming communities.
Key Words: Eragrostis tef, genetic advance, genotypic coefficients of variations, heritability, phenotypic coefficients of variation, tef