Productivity of Maize hybrid maturity classes in Savanna agroecologies
AbstractThe recurrent droughts of the late 1960s and early 1970s in Nigeria necessitated research efforts to develop hybrid maize (Zea mays L.) of different maturity periods. These hybrids have proved to be suited to the full range of environments in predominantly lowland West African Savanna. With the continued development and release of such hybrids, there is need to continue to screen them in order to ascertain their potential productivity in different agro-ecologies. A study was, therefore, carried out between June and October 2011, to screen nine hybrid varieties of maize for growth and yield potentials in two savanna agro-ecologies of Saminaka (lowland) and Vom (mountainous). The varieties, which were distributed in three maturity classes include Sammaz -11, Sammaz -14 and Sammaz -17 (late-maturing), Sammaz -12, Sammaz -24 and Molt-cob (early-maturing) as well as Sammaz -13, Sammaz-18 and Sammaz -20 (extra early-maturing). Germination rate was significantly (P<0.05) higher in late-maturing variety Sammaz -11 than in the extra-early variety Sammaz -13 at both Saminaka and Vom. At both locations, plants flowered earlier in the extra-early varieties than in the late-maturing. Mean number of days to mid-tasselling and mid-silking was attained earlier in the extra-early varieties than in the late-maturing. Plant height, ear length, ear width and 1,000 kernel weight were higher in the late than early or extra-early maturing varieties. Grain yield was significantly higher in the extra-early variety Sammaz -18, than in the latematuring Sammaz -17 and Sammaz -11. Generally, the germination rate, plant height and the total grain yield were higher at Saminaka. Ear length and width, as well as 1,000 kernel weight were higher at Vom than at Saminaka.
Keywords: Flowering, silking, tasselling, Zea mays
African Crop Science Journal, Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 323 - 335