African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6693

Full Length Research Paper

Evaluation of five pearl millet varieties for yield and forage quality under two planting densities in the Sahel

Dov Pasternak1, Ali Ibrahim2* and Ayantunde Augustine3        
1International Adviser Drylands Agriculture, 16/12 Harav Goren St. Rishon Letzion 75753, Israel. 2International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), P. O. Box 12404, Niamey, Niger. 3International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Bamako, Mali.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 21 May 2012
  •  Published: 21 August 2012

Abstract

In the Sahel that is typified by an agro-pastoral system and a long dry season between rains, the availability of animal feed is a very serious constraint. The objectives of this study were to identify pearl millet varieties with high forage productivity under rainfed conditions in the Sahel, best planting densities and physiological mechanisms conductive to high forage productivity in pearl millet. The experiment was carried out at the ICRISAT Sadore Research Center in Niger during the 2006 rainy season. Five long duration millet varieties (Malgorou, Batchoudine, Sanioba, Yabo Maiwa and Somno Damari) were compared at two planting densities (10,000 and 20,000 hills/ha). Dry matter yield and forage quality was assessed at the boot, anthesis and at the soft dough stages. The higher planting density gave in this year higher dry matter (and grain) yield than the lower density. The dough stage was the most suitable stage for harvest because dry matter was at its highest. However, organic matter digestibility and crude protein are higher at the boot stage compared with the dough stage. The Malgorou variety gave the highest dry matter yield at the dough stage (8.57 tons/ha at the high planting density). The high forage productivity of this variety was attributed to the longer growing period before anthesis and the bigger number of tillers. The results of this study demonstrated that long duration varieties of pearl millet can become an important source of forage in the Sahel under rainfed conditions.

 

Key words: Forage millet, varieties, planting density, harvest stage, dry matter yield, Sahel.