Effects of Striga hermonthica on yield components in maize
A split-plot experiment was conducted in 1992 and 1993 at Mokwa in the southern Guinea savanna zone of Nigeria to determine the responses of maize yield components to infestation by parasitic weed Striga hermonthica (Del.) Benth. and identify the most important yield components under Striga parasitism. Infestation treatments (infested v. non-infested) and hybrids [9022-13 (highly tolerant), 8644-31 (moderately tolerant), 8321-21 (moderately susceptible) and 8338-1 (highly susceptible)] were the main and subplots, respectively.
Striga significantly reduced grain yield and all the yield components considered. Pre-flowering stress due to Striga parasitism was higher than post-flowering stress and resulted in higher reduction for ears per plant (44%) than reductions for other yield components (12–29%). The numbers of yield components for which the hybrids exhibited the highest percentage reduction increased with the degree of susceptibility to Striga. Thus, 8338-1, the highly susceptible hybrid, suffered more severe reductions in a larger number of yield components than the other hybrids. Number of ears per plant was a major yield component and accounted for an overwhelming proportion (R2 = 0·95) of the variation in grain yield under Striga. Reductions in maize grain yield and its components were more severe under the moisture stress that occurred in 1992.(Received April 10 2000)
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p1 Present address: International Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Kyungpook National University (KNU), 1370 Sankyuk-dong, Puk-ku, Taegu 702-701, South Korea.
p2 Present address: Department of Plant Production, University of Venda, Pvt. Bag 5050, Thohoyandou, South Africa.