Agronomic response of drought-tolerant and Striga-resistant maize cultivars to nitrogen fertilization in the Nigerian Guinea savannahs


In additon to drought and Striga hermonthica parasitism, nitrogen deficiency is a major constraint to maize pro¬duction in the Guinea savannahs of Nigeria. The use of mineral fertilizers is limited because of unavailability and high costs. The use of maize cultivars that perform well under sub-optimal N conditons is therefore desirable. Breeders at IITA have selected maize cultivars that combine tolerance to drought and Striga hermonthica parasit¬ism. This study evaluated six of these cultivars under a range of N application rates and compared these with a widely grown variety, TZB-SR. The study was conducted in Zaria and Samaru Kataf in Kaduna State of Nigeria. Results showed N application significantly reduced days to flowering and increased yield and yield components. Cultivars selected for combined tolerance to drought and Striga recorded lower number of days to flowering under N stress and higher dry matter, higher grain yield, higher number of grains m-2 and higher 500-seed weight at all N rates. This confirms earlier reports that maize cultivars selected for tolerance to drought will perform well under N-limited conditions. Grain yield was significantly associated with dry matter, number of grains m-2 and 500-seed weight at all N levels suggesting that these agronomic traits are significant determinants of maize yield at all N rates. Two cultivars (DT STR SYN-W/IWD C3 SYN and IWD C3 SYN/DT-SYN-1-W) were particularly outstanding at all added N levels probably due to long term improvement for drought tolerance. These two cultivars can be recommended for large-scale demonstration and release to the farmers in the West African savannas.


maize cultivars; N rates; grain yield

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Maydica - A journal devoted to maize and allied species

ISSN: 2279-8013