A field experiment was carried out from October 2009 to February 2010, to determine the drought tolerance levels of ten maize (Zea mays L.) genotypes and to establish a basis for the development of drought tolerant hybrids. The soil used belongs to theAsuansi series (Ferric Acrisol). Six inbred lines and four varieties with different genetic backgrounds were used. A total of 80 plots were prepared in the field, from which 50% constituted the water stressed site where water was withdrawn 6 weeks after planting (6 WAP) and the remaining 50% formed the non water stressed site where the crops received water until end of grain filling. Data were collected on leaf relative water content, leaf rolling, leaf senescence, anthesis-silking interval, ears per plant and grain yield. Pairwise comparison of means of water stressed and non stressed genotypes was done, drought intensity and indices were also formulated based on grain yield. Entries 24 and 5 were identified as apparently tolerant among the inbred lines while Mamaba, among the varieties appeared as relatively tolerant. The five secondary traits mentioned above for the ranking procedure proved to be effective indicators for the selection of drought tolerant maize genotypes.
Key words: Zea mays, genotype, drought tolerance, water stress, non water stress.
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