On-farm experiments with millet in Niger: crop establishment, yield loss factors and economic analysis.
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Results of farm-level experiments with pearl millet are reported from four villages in semi-arid Niger in 1982 and 1983. Crop establishment, yield loss factors (insects, diseases, striga) and economics of new practices were studied in a randomized design which included density, fertility, cultivar, and intercropping with cowpea as treatments. Improved cultivars did not establish significantly better than local ones, but fertilizer occasionally improved establishment. Incidence of yield loss factors was low, and only small effects of cultivar and fertilizer were seen. Fertilizer increased grain yields of the local cultivar by as much as 153%. The use of fertilizer and improved cultivars increased grain yields by as much as 171% over an unfertilized local millet. Even without government subsidies, fertilizer use was profitable for 56% of farmers on all cultivars. In general, fertilizers and improved cultivars had a small positive impact on profitability, with little adverse impact on grain yield variability, so that they could be recommended to farmers with some prospect of success. The intercropping treatment failed in both years, and would have to be modified before extension
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