Assessment of Diversity in Commercial Hybrids of Pearl Millet in India
Availability of diverse cultivars is essential in order to meet necessity of regional adaptation to various climatic conditions and to fulfil the farmers’ need of differential preference of various phenotypic traits in pearl millet. The present study attempted to quantify the degree of diversity in commercial hybrids of pearl millet and to understand the relationship among various phenotypic and quality traits. A total of 122 commercial hybrids were evaluated at three diverse locations. Results showed large variation for flowering time (42-58 days), tillering (1.1-4.4 panicles/plant), individual grain size (7.6-17.3 mg), plant height (185-268 cm), panicle length (20-33 cm) and grain yield (35-72 q/ha). Clustering of hybrids resulted in 7 distinct clusters, which highlighted the successful efforts of national programme of pearl millet improvement toward genetic diversification of hybrids. These results are discussed as to how this reported diversity has helped in extending the hybrid technology in some of the most difficult and diverse production ecologies. Phenology, tillering and height had significant influence on yields of hybrids. Taller hybrids provided higher yield. Hybrids with lesser duration and shorter height produced more tillers and tillering decreased with the increase in panicle length. The correlation of grain yield with Fe and Zn concentration in grains was not significant suggesting that both these micronutrients can be improved without significantly compromising on grain yield.
- ICRISAT