Frontiers in Plant Science (May 2021)

Performance and Stability of Pearl Millet Varieties for Grain Yield and Micronutrients in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions of India

  • P. Sanjana Reddy,
  • C. Tara Satyavathi,
  • Vikas Khandelwal,
  • H. T. Patil,
  • P. C. Gupta,
  • L. D. Sharma,
  • K. D. Mungra,
  • Sumer P. Singh,
  • R. Narasimhulu,
  • H. H. Bhadarge,
  • K. Iyanar,
  • M. K. Tripathi,
  • Devvart Yadav,
  • Ruchika Bhardwaj,
  • A. M. Talwar,
  • V. K. Tiwari,
  • U. G. Kachole,
  • K. Sravanti,
  • M. Shanthi Priya,
  • B. K. Athoni,
  • N. Anuradha,
  • Mahalingam Govindaraj,
  • T. Nepolean,
  • Vilas A. Tonapi

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12


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Pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.] is grown under both arid and semi-arid conditions in India, where other cereals are hard to grow. Pearl millet cultivars, hybrids, and OPVs (open pollinated varieties) are tested and released by the All India Coordinated Research Project on Pearl Millet (AICRP-PM) across three zones (A1, A, and B) that are classified based on rainfall pattern. Except in locations with extreme weather conditions, hybrids dominate pearl millet growing areas, which can be attributed to hybrid vigor and the active role of the private sector. The importance of OPVs cannot be ruled out, owing to wider adaptation, lower input cost, and timely seed availability to subsidiary farmers cultivating this crop. This study was conducted to scrutinize the presently used test locations for evaluation of pearl millet OPVs across India, identify the best OPVs across locations, and determine the variation in grain Fe and Zn contents across locations in these regions. Six varieties were evaluated across 20 locations in A1 and A (pooled as A) and B zones along with three common checks and additional three zonal adapted checks in the respective zones during the 2019 rainy season. Recorded data on yield and quality traits were analyzed using genotype main effects and genotype × environment interaction biplot method. The genotype × environment (G × E) interaction was found to be highly significant for all the grain yield and agronomic traits and for both micronutrients (iron and zinc). However, genotypic effect (G) was four (productive tillers) to 49 (grain Fe content) times that of G × E interaction effect for various traits across zones that show the flexibility of OPVs. Ananthapuramu is the ideal test site for selecting pearl millet cultivars effectively for adaptation across India, while Ananthapuramu, Perumallapalle, and Gurugram can also be used as initial testing locations. OPVs MP 599 and MP 600 are identified as ideal genotypes, because they showed higher grain and fodder yields and stability compared with other cultivars. Iron and zinc concentration showed highly significant positive correlation (across environment = 0.83; p < 0.01), indicating possibility of simultaneous effective selection for both traits. Three common checks were found to be significantly low yielders than the test entries or zonal checks in individual zones and across India, indicating the potential of genetic improvement through OPVs.