Managing Yield and Water Use of Pearl Millet in the Sahel

Payne, W A (1997) Managing Yield and Water Use of Pearl Millet in the Sahel. Agronomy Journal, 83 (3). pp. 481-490.

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Management effects on yield and water use of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) were investigated for a range of climate conditions in the Sahel. Grain and aboveground dry matter yield,daily vapour pressure deficit, and soil water data were taken during four years of contrasting rainfall near Niamey, Niger. Within any given year, genotype, plant population, and fertilizer had relatively small to no effect on evapotranspiration (ET), but large effects on yield. When high plant population (more or =20000 hills ha sup(-1)) was combined with high fertilizer application (more or =40 kg N ha sup(-1) and or =18 kg P ha sup(-1)) during the wettest year, total ET was increased by c. 50 mm. High fertilizer application tended to slightly increase ET and thereby deplete soil water reserves, but this was not associated with yield decline. Yield and water-use data refute the view that, by maintaining fields at low fertility and low plant populations, farmers reduce risk of crop failure during drought by reducing crop water use. Compared with traditional practices that use plant populations as low as 5000 hills ha sup(-1) and zero fertilizer input, moderate plant population (10000 hills ha sup(-1) and fertilizer application (20 kg N ha sup(-1) and 9 kg P ha sup(-1)) substantially increased yield and approximately tripled water use efficiency even during 1984, the driest year on record. In general, grain yield was better predicted from ET within different management categories when corrections were made for mean daily vapour pressure deficit during the growing season.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets
Depositing User: Library ICRISAT
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2011 06:21
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2013 12:26
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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