Performance of Variety Cross Hybrids of Maize (Zea Mays L.) in the Mid-Altitude and Highland Transition Areas of Ethiopia
AbstractImproved open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) have been developed and released for commercial production in maize growing areas of Ethiopia. However, the dissemination of these improved varieties is limited because of a low level of interest of seed producers in the production and marketing of OPV seed. The dissemination of broad based improved varieties could be increased by the development and release of adapted commercial high yielding variety cross hybrids. This study was conducted in 2002 at seven locations in the mid-altitude (1000 – 1800 meter above sea level, masl) and highland transition areas (1800 – 2000 masl) of Ethiopia to evaluate the performance of variety cross hybrids. Twenty-nine variety cross hybrids and nine parental OPVs/populations along two checks were tested in randomized complete block design with three replications at each location. Analysis of variance revealed significant difference (P<0.01) among the entries. The mean grain yield ranged from 3.9 to 8.3 t ha-1. Some variety cross hybrids gave a better performance than the improved OPVs. Kuleni (Pool-9A) x Abo-Bako outyielded the high parent (Kuleni) by 29.7% and Gibe-1 x Kuleni outyielded the best OPV and high parent (Gibe-1) by 14.7%. Gibe-1 x Kuleni also had a more stable performance across the testing locations than the parental OPVs. This implied that moving from OPVs to variety cross hybrids, particularly under small scale farmers’ conditions, could increase the productivity of maize.
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