Grain Yield and Heterosis of Maize Hybrids under Nematode Infested and Nematicide Treated Conditions

Frank Kagoda, John Derera, Pangirayi Tongoona, Daniel L. Coyne, Herbert L. Talwana


Plant-parasitic nematodes are present on maize but resistant genotypes have not been identified in Uganda. This study was aimed at determining the level of nematode resistance among F1 hybrids, and to estimate grain yield, heterosis and yield losses associated with maize hybrids under nematode infestation. The 30 F1 hybrids and two local checks were evaluated in a split plot design with nematode treatment (nematode infested versus nematicide treated) as the whole plot factor, and the hybrids as subplot factors arranged in an 8 x 4 alpha-lattice design. The experiment was conducted simultaneously at three sites. The hybrids were also evaluated in a split plot design under greenhouse conditions at IITA-Namulonge. Results revealed 24 P. zeae susceptible hybrids compared to only six P. zeae resistant hybrids. Grain yield across sites was higher by about 400 kg ha-1 under nematicide treatment than under nematode infestation. The nematode tolerant/resistant hybrids exhibited yields ranging from 5.0 to 8.4 t ha-1 compared to 5.0 t ha-1 obtained from the best check. Grain yield loss was up to 28% among susceptible hybrids, indicating substantial economic yield losses due to nematodes. Under field conditions, desired heterosis was recorded on 18 hybrids for P. zeae, and on three hybrids for Meloidogyne spp. Under nematode infestation, only 16 hybrids had higher relative yield compared to the mean of both checks, the best check and the trial mean, whereas it was 20 hybrids under nematicide treated plots. Overall, most outstanding hybrids under nematode infestation were CML395/MP709, CML312/5057, CML312/CML206, CML312/CML444, CML395/CML312 and CML312/CML395. Therefore, grain yield loss due to nematodes is existent but can be significantly reduced by growing nematode resistant hybrids.

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