Response of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.) to plant population in the semi-arid environments of Nigeria

Hakeem Ayinde Ajeigbe, Folorunso Mathew Akinseye, Ayuba Kunihya, Abdulsalam Ibrahim Abdullahi and Alpha Yaya Kamara

Net Journal of Agricultural Science
Published: January 21 2019
Volume 7, Issue 1
Pages 13-22


Low planting densities and use of unimproved varieties contribute to the low yields of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.) in Nigeria. Field experiments were conducted during the 2013 and 2014 growing seasons, to evaluate the response of pearl millet varieties to varying plant hill population in semi-arid environments of Nigeria. Year, variety and plant hill population had significant (p ≤ 0.05) effect on days to 50% flowering, grain and stalk yields. With exception of Sosat-C88 at 8,889 hills ha-1, the grain and stalk yields of pearl millet varieties were found to be significantly higher at higher hill populations than lower hill populations in both locations. Plant chlorophyll content (SPAD) at 21 DAS (days after sowing) was higher and significantly correlated with grain yields in Minjibir than value at 42 DAS. Similarly, leaf area index (LAI) at 42 DAS was significantly correlated with grains than at 63 DAS. Increasing hill population to 13,333, 26,667 and 53,333 hills ha-1 increased grain yield by 5.8, 5.3 and 4.5% in Minjibir and by 14.3, 18.7 and 10.1% in Gambawa respectively compared to 8,889 hills ha-1. Similarly, stalk yields increased with increased plant hill population, which ranged from 6 to 23% at Minjibir and 11 to 15% at Gambawa over 8,889 hills ha-1. Sosat-C88 was found to produce higher yield across the different hills population than the other varieties tested with mean yield gained by 17% in Minjibir and 19.3% in Gambawa over local variety. Results suggest no blanket recommendation for the hill population across the varieties; GB8765 attained an optimal yield at a population of 13,333 hills ha-1 in both locations beyond which grain yield decline. Sosat-C88 produced an optimum yield at lower population of 8,889 hills ha-1 at Minjibir and higher population of 26,667 hills ha-1 at Gambawa while local variety an optimal yield was stable at 26,667 hills ha-1 in both locations.

Keywords: Hill populations, leaf area index, productivity, plant chlorophyll, semi-arid tropics.

Full Text PDF