Yield potential of non-irrigated sugarcane germplasm accessions in a savanna ecology of Nigeria
The emergence of the sugarcane out-growers scheme intended to service the sugar industries in the savanna agro-ecologies of Nigeria necessitates the availability of low-moisture tolerant varieties for cultivation under strict upland condition. Data obtained from a replicated field trial involving 30 exotic and 18 local sugarcane germplasm collections at the University of Ilorin Sugar Research Institute (USRI), were used to assess their yielding potential under non- irrigated condition. The objective was to determine their suitability as parents for evolving superior but low-moisture tolerant sugarcane genotypes for cultivation in the drought-prone ecologies of the sugarcane growing area of Nigeria. Significant differences were observed for harvest stage (HS), genotype (G) and G x HS interaction for all characters measured except for number of internodes/stalk. Ranges in the means were large for almost all the characters except stalk diameter with a difference of 34.0t/ha between the highest and lowest yielding genotypes. In consonance with genetic variance (δ2g) estimates, broadsense heritability (H2B) estimates were high for kg-brix and millable cane population (0.66 & 0.61), moderate for cane yield and internode length (0.54 & 0.51) but low for sucrose in the juice and stalks/stool (0.25 & 0.12). Eight of the top ten productive genotypes with respect to cane yield, brix and kg-brix are the flowering type indicating their usefulness as parents in hybridization programme intended for developing productive varieties for low soil moisture situation. One of the check varieties (var. CO957) demonstrated yield superiority and adaptation to low soil moisture situation. The implications of these results in breeding and selection for low-moisture tolerant sugarcane varieties are discussed.
Keywords: Saccharum officinarum; Cane yield; moisture stress; Brix; Kg-yield
Moor Journal of Agricultural Research Vol. 7 (1&2) 2006 pp. 69-75