Identifying Superior Rainfed Barley Genotypes in Farmers' Fields Using Participatory Varietal Selection
This study was carried out to identify superior barley genotypes for the rainfed areas of western Iran using a participatory varietal selection (PVS) approach. Three field experiments were conducted in two randomly selected farmers' fields and in one rainfed research station in the 2006 - 07 cropping season with 69 genotypes (including one local and one improved check). Several univariate and multivariate methods were used to analyze qualitative (farmers' scores) and quantitative (grain yield) data. Individual farmers' scores in each village were positively correlated, indicating that the farmers tended to discriminate genotypes in similar fashion, although the genotypes actually selected by farmers were different in the two villages. In recent years, a greater number of farmers in western Iran preferred the improved variety (Sararood-1) over the local barley (Mahali), while in this project the farmers preferred the new genotypes over the two checks. This was also verified by the quantitative data showing that the checks were outyielded by the new genotypes. Farmers were efficient in identifying the best genotypes for their specific environment, as shown by biplot analysis, indicating their competence in selection. The genotypes selected by the breeder and farmers were almost similar but some differences existed. In conclusion, PVS is a powerful way to involve farmers for selecting and testing new cultivars that are adapted to their needs, systems and environments.