Evaluation of grain yield and related agronomic traits of quality protein maize hybrids in Southern Africa uri icon

abstract

  • Maize is the major staple food in southern Africa with human consumption averaging 91 kg capita(-1) year(-1), and normal maize is nutritionally deficient in two essential amino acids: tryptophan and lysine. Despite the development of quality protein maize (QPM) with high tryptophan and lysine, stunting and kwashiorkor remain high in sub-Saharan Africa due to lack of high yielding and adapted QPM varieties. This study aimed at evaluating a new generation of QPM varieties for yield and related agronomic traits. Before the QPM varieties were validated on-farm, they were simultaneously selected on-station under five different management conditions. In the 2014/2015 season, 10 elite QPM varieties were selected from on-station trials based on high grain yield and stability, and were compared with the best commercial check varieties on-farm. During the 2015/2016 season, some poorly performing QPM varieties were dropped while new ones were added, resulting in 12 elite QPM varieties being evaluated on-farm. Analysis of variance for the 2014/2015 season showed non-significant hybrid 9 management condition interaction. Mean grain yields across management conditions ranged from 1.5 to 4 t ha(-1) and were higher under mild stress (2.3-5.5 t ha(-1)) compared to random stress conditions (1.1-2.9 t ha(-1)). Broad sense heritability estimates were low to moderate (11-69%), and thus could still permit effective selection of better genotypes. Yield advantage ranged from 12 to 25% across the 2 years, suggesting effective genetic gains in QPM breeding. QPM hybrids CZH132044Q, CZH142238Q and CZH142236Q were stable and high yielding. Promotion of such QPM hybrids may help reduce protein energy malnutrition.

publication date

  • 2017
  • 2017