Agronomic Performance of Food Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Varieties and Their Response to Seed Rate at Elfeta District, West Showa Zone, Oromia National Regional State
Barley is one of the most important, economically valuable and widely used cereal crops in Ethiopia. However, barley yield and productivity is constrained by lack of improved varieties, use of unimproved production packages among which seed rate is major one. Hence, an experiment was conducted to identify better performing food barley variety and determine the optimal seed rate at Elfeta district of West Showa Zone of Oromia National Regional State in 2017 main cropping season. The experiment was laid out in a Randomized Complete Block Design with three replications. The treatments were factorial combination of three improved (Cross41/98, HB19/65, HB19/66 varieties) and one local cultivar, and four seed rates (75, 100, 125 and 150 kg ha-1). The result of the study revealed that food barley varieties significantly differ in phonological parameters, such as days to 90% heading, grain filling period, and days to 90% maturity. Yield and yield components of barley including plant height, spike length, thousand seed weight and harvest index were significantly (p<0.01) influenced by the main effect of variety and seed rate. However, total number of tillers, number of effective tillers, grains per spike, and grain, straw, and biomass yields were significantly (p<0.01) influenced by interaction effect of variety and seed rate. Variety HB19/66 and seed rate of 125 kg ha-1gave significantly high grain yield (6.23 tons ha-1). The highest net benefit of ETB 38,923 ha-1 with marginal rate of return of 933% and value to cost ratio of ETB 27 per unit investment was obtained from use of 125 kg ha-1 seeding rate for food barley. Therefore, use of HB19/66 variety with 125 kg ha-1 seeding rate is profitable and recommended to the study area.
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