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Studies on the effects of variety, intra-row spacing and nitrogen fertiliser rates on the performance of pearl millet in a semi-arid agro-ecology in northern Ghana

Author: 
Kanton, R. A. L. Afribeh, D. Inusah, I. Y. Baba, Asungre, P. Ansoba, E. Y. Kusi, F. Mawunya, M. Sugri, I. Lamini, S and Yirzagla, J.
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Field trials were conducted to investigate the effects of variety, intra-row spacing and nitrogen fertilizer rates on the performance of pearl millet in a semi-arid agro-ecology in north-eastern Ghana The research was conducted at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), Manga Agricultural Research Station near Bawku in the 2004 and 2005 cropping seasons. The pearl millet varieties evaluated were Bongo Short Head and Tongo Yellow in 2004 and Bongo Short Head, Tongo Yellow and Arrow in 2005. The intra-row spacing adopted were 20 and 30 cm and the fertilizer levels were 20 and 40 kg/ha of nitrogen. The trial was established as a factorial in a randomised complete block design with 4 replications. Plot dimensions were 4.5 m x 6.0 m. Data was taken on all standard agronomic traits and analysed using GenStat software. In 2004, panicle length was significantly (P≤0.0001) affected by millet variety; with Tongo Yellow producing longer panicles than Bongo Short Head. 100 -grain weight of pearl millet was not affected by any of the factors studied. Bongo Short Head produced the highest grain yield, though not significantly (P≤0.05) higher than Tongo Yellow. Similarly, closer spacing produced higher grain yield compared to wider spacing though the differences were not significant (P≤0.05). There was a general increase in millet yields with increase in nitrogen fertilizer application; with nitrogen fertilizer levels of 40 and 20 kg/ha significantly (P≤0.013) out-yielding the No Nitrogen treatment. In 2005, Tongo Yellow produced the highest grain yield. Planting at closer intra-row spacing produced higher grain yield than at wider spacing. Similarly millet yields were higher at 20 and highest at 40 kg N ha-1. The study enhanced the options available to pearl millet farmers in terms of improved agronomic practices and varietal choice.

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