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The introduction of new crop varieties is important to improve farm productivity and increase food security in developing countries. This study was conducted to determine the performance of improved varieties of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), rice (Oryza sativa L.), mungbean [(Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek] and potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) in comparison to local varieties through farmers’ participatory evaluation. The study was conducted during three years (2006 to 2008) with 948 farmers’ participatory field trials across 18 districts in three Eastern provinces (Nangarhar, Laghman and Kunar) of Afghanistan. One or more improved varieties of wheat, rice, mungbean and potato were compared to the most popular local variety. Data were recorded on the grain yield of wheat, rice and mungbean, and the tuber yield of potato. On average, the improved varieties outyielded local varieties by 69, 57, 70 and 65% for wheat, rice, mungbean, and potato, respectively. Economic analysis in terms of net benefit demonstrated that the adoption of improved varieties resulted in additional incomes of US$ 1840, 1299, 574 and 790 ha-1 for wheat, rice, mungbean and potato, respectively. These findings underline the importance of on-farm farmers’ participatory technology evaluation in developing countries to disseminate new crop varieties to improve farm productivity.

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Field trials were conducted in the dry (Experiment I) and wet (Experiment II) seasons of 1997 at Samaru (11°11' N, 7°38' E, 686 m above sea level) in the northern Guinea Savanna ecological zone of Nigeria to study the effects of nitrogen rates on the reaction of upland rice (Oryza sativa L.) varieties to Striga hermonthica (Del.) Benth. The results indicate that FARO 48, a variety normally susceptible to Striga hermonthica, exhibited resistance. FARO 11 exhibited tolerance, while FARO 38, FARO 46 and FARO 45 exhibited susceptibility. The application of 90 and 120 kg N/ha delayed and reduced Striga emergence on the crop, induced a low crop reaction score and produced grain yields that were the maximum or significantly higher than the least. No significant differences in Striga infestation were observed between nitrogen rates of 30-120 kg N/ha. The significant interaction between upland rice varieties and nitrogen rates indicates that the susceptible varieties require higher rates of nitrogen to ameliorate the effect of Striga compared with the resistant varieties.

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The current study was carried out in both pot and field conditions to investigate the effects of three KSB strains of Pantoea agglomerans, Rahnella aquatilis and Pseudomonas orientalis on nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) uptake, nutrient use efficiency parameters and nutrients remobilization in rice (Oryza sativa L. cv. Pajohesh). The experiments included 15 treatments of KSB inoculations, commercial K biofertilizer and K chemical fertilizer. The results showed that the inoculums of all three KSB strains increased the K, N and P uptake by grain and straw, especially when applied in combination with ½ K chemical fertilizer (47.5 Kg/ha) as compared to the control treatment. The highest value of available K in the soil obtained from NPK chemical fertilizer equal to 140.1 and 134.6 mg K per kg of soil in the pot and field experiments, respectively, which were significantly higher than KSB inoculations treatments. Bacterial inoculums coupled with ½ K chemical fertilizer also enhanced the nutrient use efficiency (including agronomic efficiency (AE), apparent recovery efficiency (ARE), physiological efficiency (PE), agro-physiological efficiency (APE), internal utilization efficiency (UE), partial factor productivity (PFP), partial nutrient balance (PNB)) and nutrient remobilization. The results indicated that the bioinoculation with these KSB strains isolated from soil paddy could be considered as an effective way to increase potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus uptake by rice plant and enhance their use efficiency and remobilization to grains in the flooding irrigation conditions.

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Uniformity in the height of main stem and tillers is a key factor affecting ideal plant type, a key component in super high-yielding rice breeding. An understanding of the genetic basis of the panicle layer uniformity may thus contribute to breeding varieties with good plant type and high yield. In the present study, a doubled haploid (DH) population, derived from a cross between indica rice variety Zhai-Ye-Qing 8 (ZYQ8) and japonica rice variety Jing-Xi 17 (JX17) was used to analyze quantitative trait loci (QTL) for panicle layer uniformity related traits. Six, four and three QTL were detected for the highest panicle height (HPH), lowest panicle height (LPH) and panicle layer dis-uniformity (PLD), respectively. qHPH-1-1 and qPLD-1 were located at the same interval on chromosome 1. The JX17 allele(s) of these QTL increased HPH and PLD by 2.57 and 1.26 cm, respectively. Similarly, qPLD-7 and qHPH-7 were located at the same interval on chromosome 7, where the ZYQ8 allele(s) increased HPH and PLD by 3.74 and 1.96 cm, respectively. These four QTL were unfavourable for panicle layer uniformity improvement because a decrease of the PLD was accompanied by decrease of the plant height. qPLD-6 and qLPH-6-1 were located at the same interval on chromosome 6, however here the JX17 allele(s) increased LPH, but decreased PLD, suggesting that this QTL was favourable for improvement of panicle layer uniformity. The markers identified in this study are potential for marker assisted breeding for the improvement of the panicle layer uniformity and ideal plant type.

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A field experiment was conducted at the Regional Centre of the Central Tuber Crops Research Institute, Dumduma, Bhubaneswar for three consecutive years (2006–2008) under rainfed conditions on Alfisols to quantify the effects of strip intercropping on crop yields and yield components. A significantly higher yield was obtained from sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) border rows when pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.) was intercropped. Analyses of sweet potato yield components indicated that the number of roots/plant, root length and root diameter were significantly higher in border rows when rice (Oryza sativa L.), finger millet (Eleusine coracana L.) and pigeonpea were used as intercrop compared to monoculture sweet potato. The number of tubers/plant of sweet potato in border rows was significantly lower when maize (Zea mays L.) was intercropped, but the root length and root diameter were found to increase compared to sole sweet potato. The yields of rice, finger millet, maize and pigeonpea in inside rows in strip cropping were a little higher than in monoculture. The yield difference was mainly due to an increase in the number of seeds/panicle or cob. Sweet potato was the dominant crop when grown with rice or finger millet, but it was the subordinate crop when grown along with maize or pigeonpea. Sweet potato yields were consistently higher in strip intercropping than in monoculture when calculated across all the strips on an equal area basis. A strip intercropping system involving sweet potato + pigeonpea resulted in a higher land equivalent ratio (1.31) and net return ( $623.9) compared to the other forms of intercropping and to monocropping.

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Chakravarthi, B.K., Naravaneni, R. 2006. SSR marker based DNA fingerprinting and diversity study in rice ( Oryza sativa L.). African J. Biotech. 5 :684–688. Naravaneni R. SSR marker based

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globulin accompanies increased free amino acid content in rice ( Oryza sativa L.) grains. J. Cer. Sci. 43 :387–392. Yasui T. Lack of 26 kDa globulin accompanies increased free

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Asenjo C.A. — Bezus R. — Acciaresi H.A. (2003): Genotype-Environment interactions in rice (Oryza sativa L.) in temperate region using the Joint Regression Analysis and AMMI methods — Cereal Res Commun 31: 97

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growth, mineral nutrition and proline accumulation in relation to osmotic adjustment in rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivars differing in salt resistance. Plant Growth Reg. , 19, 207-218. Effects of salt stress on growth, mineral

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rice ( Oryza sativa L.). Theor. Appl. Genet. 100 :280–284. Zhu L.H. QTL mapping for the paste viscosity characteristics in rice (Oryza sativa L

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