Effect of spacing and number of plants per hill on growth and yield of Sc duma 43 in the coastal lowlands
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Maize (zea mays L) is an important cereal grain globally as feed, and food for human and livestock respectively, rated third after wheat and rice in terms of production. The per capita consumption is 103 kg per person annually in Kenya, at the coastal lowlands it is rated first ahead of cassava and sweet potatoes. Maize is a rich source of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and minerals for the inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa. Maize production at coast is constrained by inadequate knowledge of agronomic practices such as spacing plants per hill, crop management, limited arable land and choice of suitable cultivar choice and climate change. This study was conducted at Sugar Research Institute farm, Kikambala sub-county, Kilifi County between May and November 2015 cropping season, to evaluate the effect of four inter row spacing S1 (60 cm), S2 (70 cm), S3 (80 cm) and S4 (90 cm) and the number of plants per hill of 1, 2 and 4 as a second factor tested for effect on the growth and yields of the hybrid maize variety SC DUMA 43. Randomized complete block design (RCBD) in a split – plot arrangement was used with 3 replicates. The parameters investigated were plant height, stem diameter, cob length, weight of 1000 seeds, and grain yields per hectare. The data was summarized in MS Excel and analyzed using SPSS version 20 for ANOVA and LSD. Spacing and interaction between spacing and number of plants per hill did not show a significant effect on plant height, plant diameter and cob length. However, an inter – row spacing of 70 cm gave a significantly lower mean weight of 1000 seeds (312.48 g) against a highest mean value of 342.60 g for 80 cm which was however, not significantly different from the means obtained with 60 and 90 cm. The number of plants per hill significantly affected all growth and yield parameters with the highest grain yield recorded for 2 plants per hill (6543 kgha-1) against a lowest mean value of 4575.4 kgha-1 obtained with 4 plants per hill. Stem diameter, cob length, weight of 1000 seeds decreased significantly as the number of plants per hill increased. Based on the findings of this study, it was concluded that for higher grain yields with the variety SC DUMA 43, planting should be done at 2 plants per hill and a spacing 80 × 30 cm.
International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research and Development