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Influence of variety and management level on pearl millet production in Niger: I. Grain yield and dry matter accumulation

N Maman
S C Mason
S Sirifi


Pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.] is the most important food crop in Niger and most other West African Sahelian countries. The study was conducted as a factorial combination of three pearl millet varieties and two management levels at Kollo, Niger. Low management consisted of 10,000 hills ha-1 with no fertiliser application, while high management consisted of 20,000 plants ha-1 with manure, and N and P fertiliser application. The three varieties used were the improved varieties `Zatib' (tall) and `3/4 HK'(short), and a landrace variety `Heini Kirei' (tall). Two plants per plot were sampled bi-weekly, partitioned into plant parts, dried, and weighed. Pearl millet under high management produced 517 to 551 kg ha-1 greater yield and 200 to 300 g m-2 more dry matter than with low management. In 1995, the shorter variety `3/4 H K' produced 147 to 256 g m-2 less dry matter and 155 to 485 kg ha-1 less grain yield than the other varieties. Mean crop growth rates (CGRs) increased up to a maximum of 18.5 g m-2 day-1 with high management and 2 g m-2 day-1 with low management in 1995, while in 1996 maximum CGRs were 6.4 g m-2 day-1 with high management and 1.7 g m-2 day-1 with low management. In this study, environmental variability due to years had the greatest effect on crop growth and grain yield; management had an intermediate effect; and genotypes the least effect. Pearl millet producers in Niger should increase plant population and apply fertiliser to optimize pearl millet grain and stover yield.

Key Words: Crop growth rate, dry matter partitioning, Pennisetum glaucum, relative growth rate, sahel

(African Crop Science Journal: 2000 8(1): 25-34)