Can Tall Guinea-Race Sorghum Hybrids Deliver Yield Advantage to Smallholder Farmers in West and Central Africa?

Kante, M and Rattunde, H F W and Leiser, W L and Nebie, B and Diallo, B and Diallo, A and Toure, A O and Weltzien, E and Haussmann, B I G (2017) Can Tall Guinea-Race Sorghum Hybrids Deliver Yield Advantage to Smallholder Farmers in West and Central Africa? Crop Science, 57. pp. 1-10. ISSN 1435-0653

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Many farmers in West and Central Africa (WCA) prefer tall (>3 m) grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] for various reasons. This study seeks to determine (i) what yield superiority newly bred, tall, photoperiod-sensitive guinea-race sorghum hybrids can provide relative to an adapted landrace variety across a wide range of productivity conditions, and (ii) the risk of these hybrids failing to provide yield superiority for individual farmers. Seven hybrids, one local check, and eight pure-line progenies were evaluated in 37 farmer-managed, on-farm yield trials across three Malian zones and 3 yr. Environments were classified into four productivity groups (low [0.78–1.10 Mg ha−1], mid-low [1.10–1.50 Mg ha−1], mid-high [1.50–2.00 Mg ha−1] and high [2.00–2.65 Mg ha−1]) based on their trial mean grain yield. Mean yields of the seven tall hybrids were 3 to 17% (ranging from 0.06 to 0.28 Mg ha−1) higher than that of the local check across all environments and were highest (14–47%) averaged across the seven trials with the lowest mean yields. The individual overall highest-yielding hybrid showed superiorities over the local check in the low, mid-low, mid-high, and high productivity levels of 0.43 (47%), 0.14 (10%), 0.47 (27%), and 0.34 (14%) Mg ha−1, respectively. The tall hybrids rarely had yields significantly inferior to the local check. Farmers’ preference for, and the possible benefits of, taller plant types may lead farmers to grow tall hybrids, particularly under the typical low-productivity production conditions of WCA.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : West & Central Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sorghum Hybrids, Smallholder Farmers, West Africa, Central Africa, Yields, Sorghum bicolor, Guinea race, Grain yields, Genetics
Subjects: Others > Crop Yield
Mandate crops > Sorghum
Others > Genetics and Genomics
Others > African Agriculture
Others > West Africa
Others > Central Africa
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2017 03:33
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2017 05:24
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: The authors thank Malian farmers for conducting the trials and field staff of the Association des Organisations de Paysans Professionnels (AOPP), Union Local de Producteurs de Céréales (ULPC), and Association d’Eveil au Développement Durable (AMEDD). The Rockefeller Foundation support for hybrid parental materials creation, and the McKnight Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit (BMZ) funding for farmer field testing are greatly acknowledged. M. Kante acknowledges a grant by the BMZHeterosis Project (ICRISAT Project 13.1432.7-001.00). The work was undertaken as a part of the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals.
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