Agronomic Performance of Single Crosses of Maize in Kiambu and Embu Counties of Kenya
Njoka, Fredrick M.
Kariuki, Jeniffer M.
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Aims: This study was conducted to determine the agronomic performance of respective maize single crosses in different environments in varying soil and climatic zones in Kenya. Methodology: The trials were conducted at experimental stations of Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), Muguga South and KALRO Embu in Kiambu and Embu counties of Kenya respectively. The germplasm used in this study were 36 single crosses among 18 inbred lines of maize. The experiment was laid out in a 6 x 6 lattice randomized complete block design (RCBD) with two replications. Agronomic performance was measured by collecting and analyzing data on plant height, ear height, disease scores of maize streak virus and gray leaf spot and grain yield. Data was subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) using Genstat 12 program for individual single crosses. Mean separation was done using Tukey’s comparison method at 5% significance level. Results: The best performing crosses in Muguga were also the best in Embu on grain yield production with exception of cross MUL 516 x MUL508 which had a mean grain yield of 11.9 t/ha in Muguga but produced 2.7 t/ha in Embu which was attributed to other factors other than genetic makeup. Variation in yield showed a diverse genetic background of genotypes studied under these conditions. The grain yield ranged between 1.01 t/ha (MUL533 x MUL513) to 11.9 t/ha (MUL 516 x MUL 508) both in Muguga). The best performing cross for grain yield in Muguga was MUL 516 x MUL 508) while in Embu the best performing cross for grain yield was MUL541 x POPA. Data on disease scores where natural infestation was visually scored showed that majority of the crosses had a score of one confirming their near immunity status. Conclusions: For grain yield improvement crosses MUL508 x MUL688, POPA x MUL14, MUL513 x MUL114 and MUL513 x CN244 can further be evaluated and eventually released to farmers as they indicated promising relationship with yield potential compared to other crosses. Further research on agronomic performance of the crosses can be done not only in the research sites but also in other regions of Kenya.