Comparison of growth and yield adaptability indicators of two maize (Zea mays L.) cultivars under planting basin technique in Zimbabwe
In eastern semi-arid Zimbabwe, planting basins are mostly used to boost maize yields, but still low yields are often obtained due to poor choices of varieties to grow. A comparative study of growth and yield of the only two locally and commonly grown Pioneer cultivars (P2859W and PHB3253) under planting basin technique (PBT) was carried out to determine a more adaptable cultivar in Guhune, eastern Zimbabwe (NR IV). The study was done in 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 growing seasons. An experiment was laid out in a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD), with the two cultivars, each replicated four times. Yield, leaf length and plant height were measured and averaged. Results showed that PHB3253 had growth of 75.2 cm after measuring at 2 weeks interval for 10 weeks. Its growth was significantly (p<0.05) higher in terms of plant height than P2859W. Leaf length of P2859W was not significantly (p>0.05) greater than PHB3253. Grain yield of PHB3253 (35.1 kg) was significantly (p<0.05) greater than that of P2859W (26.6 kg). PHB 3253 is therefore more adaptable to semi-arid conditions under basin technique as signified by its higher growth and yield than P2859W. It is therefore recommended that farmers who use planting basins in semi-arid areas for growing short season maize cultivars (P2859W and PHB3253) should opt for PHB3253 for better productivity.
Key words: Early maturing cultivars, PHB3253 and P2859W performance, adaptation.