The major constraints in fulfilling the growing demand of malt barley in Ethiopia are limited as a result of the selection of a favourable production environment and long-time seed storage for market advantages among others are few to mention. Besides, few research findings are available on evaluation of the potential differences across sites and crop management practices to meet malting and brewery industry quality standards. The present study was conducted to evaluate the effect of seed sources and seed age on yield and yield related traits of malt barley. The experiment was conducted at Bokoji sub site of Kulumsa Research using 12 treatments consisting of 3 malt barley collections obtained from Debrebrhan Agricultural Research Centre, Ethiopia Seed Enterprise and Oromia Seed Enterprise, two seed age (year 1 and year 2) and two barley varieties (Beka and Holker). Field experiment was laid out using RCBD factorial with three replications. Highly significant (P<0.01) differences were achieved for days to physiological maturity and number of seeds per spike indicating the presence of variability among varieties due to genetic and environmental influences. Likewise, significant (P≤0.05) variation were obtained for number of seeds per spike and yield (kg/ha). The interaction effect of seed source and variety were found significant (P<0.05) difference for days to physiological maturity. Positive and highly significant (P≤0.01) correlations were found between days to heading, day to physiological maturity and number of seeds per spike. Our study suggests that seed sources and varietals difference were salient factors in creating field performance variability among malt barley cultivars. Therefore, evaluating the effect of genotypes, environment, varieties and their interaction effect plays an immense role to improve yield and yield related traits in malt barley. Furthermore, the finding of this study shows that further studies should be conducted across sites and years to assess varieties performances which will help as cornerstone to fulfil the growing demand of quality malt barley seed and grain for processing industries.
Key words: Malt barley, seed age, seed source.
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