Growth and Grain Yield of Pearl Millet (Pennisetum glaucum) Genotypes at Different Levels of Nitrogen Fertilization in the Southeastern United States

  •  Eric Obeng    
  •  Ernst Cebert    
  •  Bharat P. Singh    
  •  Rufina Ward    
  •  Leopold M. Nyochembeng    
  •  David A. Mays    


Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum [L.] R. Br) has the requisite characteristics for dry land production in the southeastern USA in comparison to the traditional grain crops while requiring less input. The purpose of this study was to identify the genotypes that produce the highest yield and seed quality at different rates of nitrogen. Four pearl millet genotypes (2304, LHB08, 606A1*2304 and 707A1*4280) were cultivated on secondary land and treated with 4 different nitrogen rates: 0, 40, 80 and 120 kg ha-1. The genotypes were evaluated for agronomic parameters including booting, number of tillers, plant height, plant weight, number of heads, head length and yield. Nitrogen rate did not have any significant effect on the head length, number of tillers and plant (dry) weight among the genotypes. Plant height ranged between 96 and 111 cm and was significantly different among the genotypes. However, numerically, genotype LHB08 produced the longest heads (42 cm) and highest seed yield (6,159 kg ha-1) across all treatments. Overall, nitrogen rate did not produce significant difference in yield among the genotypes. Since grain yield obtained in this study is comparable to those reported elsewhere, it can be inferred that pearl millet has the potential as a new grain crop for the southeastern United States. Furthermore, results demonstrated that pearl millet can be grown with limited N-input. As N-fertilization is the major cost of producing any crop, pearl millet offers special opportunity for large number of limited resource farmers in the region.

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