Evaluation of Drought Tolerant Top Cross and Three-Way Cross Maize Hybrids for Grain Yield and Related Traits in Three Agro-Ecological Zones of Southwest Nigeria
Superiority of hybrid maize cannot be overemphasized. Different types of hybrids are developed by plant breeders to improve productivity and multi-locational evaluation of these hybrids prior to release is necessary to select the best. The objectives of this study were to identify maize hybrids with superior agronomic potentials and compare the performance of top-cross and three-way cross hybrid maize varieties for grain yield and related traits under rain-fed condition in three different locations (Abeokuta, Ibadan and Akure) of Southwest Nigeria. The study consisted of ten hybrids each of top-cross and three-way cross hybrid varieties, tested with two checks. At each location, the experiment was laid out in randomised complete block design with three replications. The results showed that effects of locations, genotypes and genotype x location interactions were highly significant (p<0.01) for all the traits evaluated. Significant differences were also revealed between the top-cross and three-way cross hybrids for all the traits evaluated except days to 50% tasseling, ear diameter and 100-grain weight. The top-cross hybrids were superior over the three-way cross hybrids for grain yield by 5.25%. The hybrids ‘M0926-7’, ‘M0926-8’, ‘M1026-11’, ‘M1026-3’, ‘M1226-2’ (top-cross hybrids), ‘M1124-24’, ‘M1124-27’, ‘M1124-31’, ‘M1227-6’ and ‘M1227-7’ (three-way cross hybrids) showed highest stable yields across the three locations. Hybrids ‘M0926-7’ (top-cross hybrid) and ‘M1124-24’ (three-way cross hybrid) that expressed early flowering with higher grain yield are recommended for drought stress prone areas because of their abilities to tolerate drought through escape.
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