Effect of plant population density on the growth and yield of sorghum varieties grown on a vertisol uri icon

abstract

  • Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is an important crop that is usually grown on the Vertisols of north eastern Nigeria during the dry season. The crop is grown on soils with residual moisture, and thus exposing it to terminal drought stress. Improvement of resource use efficiency and yields is probably possible through the use of appropriate plant densities. Field trials were therefore conducted to study the effects of four plant densities, varying from 2.0 to 12.5 plants m-2 on water and radiation use and performance of two Masakwa sorghum varieties grown on a Vertisol under residual soil moisture conditions. At higher plant densities the locally adapted Nigerian variety, Bulwalana produced higher grain yields than the selection from Cameroun, Bourgouri-28. It also had more efficient water use and better light interception. At low plant densities, Bourgouri-28 yielded higher than Bulwalana. Leaf area index and radiation interception increased with increasing plant density. Stem borer incidence decreased with increasing plant density. More stem borer holes and stem tunnelling were recorded in Bulwalana than in Bourgouri-28. Covered kernel smut (Sporisorium sorghi (Ehrenberg) Link) appeared to be a potentially serious disease of the crop. The study showed that the performance of the crop can be improved through manipulation of plant population and use of early maturing cultivars

publication date

  • 2002
  • 2002