Performance of dual-purpose pearl millet genotypes in West Africa: Importance of morphology and phenology
Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.) is a cereal crop vital for food security in West and Central Africa. Its byproducts also serve as fodder for livestock, especially during dry seasons. The objective of this study was to evaluate selected genotypes from West African pearl millet breeding programmes, for dual-purpose (grain and fodder) and elucidate prospects for future breeding. A total of 83 open-pollinated varieties (OPVs), five composites, six landraces, one synthetic and five hybrids were evaluated at 14 environments in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal during the rainy seasons of 2015 and 2016. Combined analysis of data revealed significant differences among genotypes and prevalence of high genotype-by-environment interaction effects. Two stability analyses models consistently indicated that genotypes 10 (SMILBF10), 14 (SMILBF14) and 39 (SMILML5) were widely adaptable across the region. Plant height, panicle length and panicle yield showed significant positive correlations with grain yield; while days to flowering was negatively correlated. Positive correlation between grain and fodder yields indicate possibility for simultaneous improvement involving the two important traits. This result suggests that germplasm exchange and regionally integrated breeding programmes are important for the identification of widely adapted dual-purpose varieties of pearl millet, particularly in West African drylands.