Effect of Seed Priming on Germination and Seedling Growth of Grain Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) Varieties

  • Wondimu Teshome Dryland Agriculture
  • Tamado Tana Plant Sciences
  • Nigussie Dechassa Plant Sciences
  • T. N. Singh Agriculture
Keywords: Keywords: Hydro-priming; Nutrient priming; Priming duration; Priming media; Vigor index


Abstract: Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) is one of the leading drought-tolerant crops often
used to mitigate droughts for meeting household food security in Ethiopia. However, poor stand
establishment is one of the major factors that constrain productivity of the crop. Poor stand
establishment of sorghum is affected by certain conditions after sowing, which have a large influence
on speed of germination and seedling emergence that determine successful establishment of the crop
under adverse growing conditions. Therefore, an experiment was conducted to elucidate the effect of
seed priming on germination and seedling vigor of seeds of six sorghum varieties under a laboratory
condition. The experiment was conducted during the 2014 main cropping season on the campus of
Haramaya University. The treatments consisted of six sorghum varieties (Abshir, Dekeba, Macia,
Meko-1, Melkam and Teshale), three priming media (water, 9 g urea L-1, and 0.2 g ZnSO4 L-1) and five
priming durations (0, 5, 10, 15 and 20 h). The experiment was laid out as a completely randomized
design (CRD) in a factorial arrangement and replicated four times per treatment. The results showed
significant (P < 0.05) main effects of the treatments and interactions between priming media and
duration, and variety and priming duration for all the traits studied. The highest improvements in final
germination percentage (FGP) (6%), germination-index (GI) (8.4%), germination time (MGT) (4%),
emergence-percentage (EP) (20%), seedling-length (SL) (12.5%), seedling-dry-weight (SDW) (26.5%),
seedling-vigor-index-1 (SVI-1) (33.1%) and seedling-vigor-index-2 (SVI-2) (49.7%) were recorded in
response to seed priming using ZnSO4 followed by priming with Urea and water for 10 h priming
over the unprimed seeds (control treatment). Likewise, the highest varietal performance was recorded
for Melkam followed by Teshale and Dekeba with 10 h priming. The reduction in MGT and the
increments in FGP, GI, EP, SL, SDW, SVI-1, and SVI-2 due to variety Melkam with 10 h priming
respectively were 5.7, 7.7, 3.8, 22.7, 13.6, 30.2, 38.1, and 58.8% over the unprimed seeds. Therefore,
the priming sorghum seeds for 10 hours with ZnSO4 followed by Urea and water significantly
improved germination, seedling growth, and seedling vigor under laboratory conditions, implying that
the practice priming seeds with each of the media based on availability and affordability could be used
by farmers to enhance sorghum seed germination, field stand establishment, and yield.

Author Biographies

Wondimu Teshome, Dryland Agriculture

College of Dryland Agriculture, Jigjiga University, Ethiopia

Tamado Tana, Plant Sciences

School of Plant Sciences, Haramaya University, Ethiopia

Nigussie Dechassa, Plant Sciences

School of Plant Sciences, Haramaya University, Ethiopia

T. N. Singh, Agriculture

Faculty of Agriculture, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia


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