Wheat is a major cereal crop produced at different agro-ecologies of Guji Zone, Southern Oromia. However, an access of improved bread wheat variety is highly limited, especially for moisture stressed areas of the Zone. Due to this and other preceding factors, the potential of the area to wheat crop is not exploited. So, there is a need to develop and promote technologies that suit for the area. As a result, the current experiment was conducted at two moisture stressed areas of two districts(Adola and Wadera) to select and recommend high yielding, early maturing, moisture stress and diseases tolerant improved bread wheat varieties through participatory variety selection. Seven moisture stress tolerant improved bread wheat varieties with one local check were used as testing materials. The treatments were arranged in randomized completed block design with three replications for mother trial and farmers were used as replication for baby trials. Both agronomic and farmers data were collected based on the recommended standards. Data collected from mother trail were subjected to analysis of variance where as matrix ranking was used for data's collected from baby trial. The analysis of variance indicated presence of significant differences at ( P≤0.01) among the evaluated bread wheat varieties for days to heading, days to maturity, plant height, thousand seed weight and grain yield. However, non-significant difference was observed among the varieties for grain filling period, spike length, total number of tillers per plant, number of fertile tillers per plant, number of spikelet per spike and number of kernels per spike. Significant variability was observed among the tested bread wheat varieties for grain yield qt/ha, which was ranged from 11.97 to 28.62 qt/ha with the mean value of 23.07 qt/ha and coefficient of variation 14.31%. The highest grain yield (28.62 qt/ha) was recorded for Mekelle 02 followed by Mekelle 01 (27.09qt/ha). But, low yield of 11.97 qt/ha was obtained from local variety (control).In other cases, farmers were allowed to evaluate the varieties using their own criteria. Accordingly, variety Mekele 02 and Mekele 01 were selected by farmers due to their best performance. Thereby, these two improved bread wheat varieties are selected based on agronomic data result and farmers preference and recommended for production to the study areas.
Keywords: Bread wheat, participatory variety selection, improved variety