Performance of Drought Tolerant Maize Varieties under Water Harvesting Technologies in the Coastal Region of Kenya

DOI: 10.1080/00128325.2017.1387225
Author(s): M.B. MuliKenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Kenya, D. KengoKenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Kenya, A. MzingirwaKenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Kenya, R. MusilaKenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Kenya


The average annual rainfall in coastal Kenya is 450–700 mm per annum in most places while the total annual evapotranspiration is 1200–1800 mm. In arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs), farmers grow maize varieties for medium to high rainfall zones without considering the need for water harvesting to enhance crop yield. To address the moisture constraint, a study was conducted to evaluate the performance of drought tolerant maize varieties under different water harvesting technologies (Zai pits, tied ridges and conventional). The treatments were laid out in a split - plot design with water harvesting methods as the main plots and maize varieties as the sub-plots. The response of four maize varieties (DK8031, DUMA 43, KDV1 and PH4) to three water harvesting technologies was evaluated. Variety Duma 43 produced the highest grain yield (P < 0.05) compared to the other varieties whereas yields for Zai pits and tied ridges were higher (P < 0.05) than for conventional treatment. Economic analysis revealed a higher gross margin for tied ridges than for Zai pits. Conventional planting showed a negative gross margin under the ASAL conditions. The variety DUMA 43 was selected for yield and cob size components whereas PH4 was selected for grain recovery when pounded and high stover biomass.

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