This activity was conducted in Ilu-Gelan, Bako Tibe, Gobu Sayo, Sibu Sire, Bonaya Boshe and Ilu-Harar districts of Western Oromia with the objective of demonstrating the recently released maize varieties, BH-546 and BH-547 along with Limu as standard check to the farming community in these districts. These districts were purposively selected based on potentiality for maize production; and one potential PA from each district were selected on the basis of accessibility and potentiality. After selecting farmers in each PA training was provided and lastly planting was done. Then after, three varieties of maize, BH-546 and BH-547as a recently released variety along with Limu; as standard check were planted on 20m*10m adjacent plots on 24 farmers’ fields. All recommended agronomic practices were equally applied to all the plots and the fields were closely supervised and were managed well. At maturity, the varieties were jointly evaluated with a team composed of researchers, Farmers and DAs. Despite the slight variability in criteria set by farmers at the respective locations, yield , disease tolerance, grain color, pest resistance, cob length, number of cob per plant, grain size, lodging resistant, early maturity, bare tip, taste shelf life quality and time for backing of the four were the common selection criteria across all locations. In almost all the locations BH-546 beat both HB-547 and Limu varieties in yield and the criteria set for evaluation; except longer time taking to be baked and late maturing nature, and impressing the farmers; especially number of cob per plant, cob length, number of seeds per plant, taste and retaining shelf life quality for long time(not less than ten days). With regard to yield and farmers’ preference ranking and selection, 9.11t/ha, 8.92t/ha and 8.68 t/ha were obtained from BH-546, BH-547 and Limu varieties; respectively putting BH-546 on the first rank, thenBH-547 second and finally Limu. Besides; in terms of yield advantageBH-546and BH-547 had4.94 % and 2.72 % yield advantage over standard check Limu and this implies that both demonstrated BH-546and BH-547 had higher yield advantage than Limu. Further; statistically mean yield comparison (t-test) results obtained from this study revealed that as there were no significant differences at (p?0.05)on mean yield performance among the varieties demonstrated. Furthermore; in terms of profitability, financial analysis result of the study also showed that using BH-546 and BH-547 varieties can make more profitable than Limu. Cognizant that though there were no statistically significant differences among the varieties mean yield based on farmers’ preference ranking, yield advantage, profitability (cost-benefit analysis) gained from the study the more demanded variety BH-546 will be further taken to the next step. Therefore; as the variety has met the intended criteria of the farmers and suits farmers’ evaluation criteria in almost all the districts where this activity undertaken the pre-scaling up activity shall follow next season.
Keywords: Maize; Participatory demonstration and evaluation; Yield Advantage, BH-546 and BH-547; Limu