Effect of Farm Saved Maize (Zea mays L.) Seed on Intensity of Foliage Diseases

  •  Alfred N. Mutundi    
  •  James W. Muthomi    
  •  Florence M. Olubayo    
  •  Philip K. Leley    
  •  Felista M. Nzuve    


Majority of farmers in Africa recycle farm saved seed from the previous seasons. Such seed is usually contaminated with disease causing pathogens, has low vigor and result in low yields. This study was, therefore, conducted to determine the effect of recycling maize seeds on incidence of foliage diseases. Maize seeds were collected during 2016 short rain season from farmers, local market and Agrovet shops in Busia County of western Kenya. The seeds were subjected to field evaluation during 2017 long rain season at two sites in Busia and Kakamega Counties. Data was collected on emergence, off types, lodging, ear aspect and abnormalities, incidence and severity of diseases and yield. Seeds from local market had significantly higher emergence of up to 66% while the farm saved seeds and local market resulted in the highest percentage of off-types of up to 18%. Crop from farm saved seed and seeds from the local market showed high susceptibility to stalk lodging, ear abnormalities and high levels of diseases. Diseases detected include northern leaf blight, gray leaf spot, rust, brown spot, downy mildew, and ear rots. The study showed that though informal seeds had high plant establishment, they have high level of off types, are susceptible to lodging, diseases and low yields. Therefore, farmer should be encouraged to use certified or improved seeds to enhance crop productivity.

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