Estimation of Natural Variability in Different Pearl Millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.) Sudanese Genotypes
International Journal of Sustainable Agricultural Research
Article History Millet is grown mostly as the main grain crop in the drier Western Parts of Sudan (Darfur and Kordofan States) where climatic conditions permit only millet production. Also there is a limited cultivation of millet in the Eastern region of the country. Most species of Pennisetum are protogynous, but pearl millet is more conspicuous in this regard. This facilitates the introgression of characters from other annual penicillaries into pearl millet and hence has helped in the genetic
... lped in the genetic enrichment of this species. In this study 20 pearl millet genotypes were collected from different parts of the Sudan with concentration on the western states. They were evaluated to assess the extent of variation among them in morphological and yield parameters, using a randomized complete block design with two replications. The twenty pearl millet genotypes exhibited significant differences in most of the characters studied. Out of the 19 parameters, only yield per tiller panicle and total yield per plant were non-significantly different. There is a noticeable variation, not only among the different genotypes of the same species but also within the same genotype or cultivar. Such variation may be attributed to the open pollination system of this crop Contribution/Originality: This study will add basic information to the existing literature concerning Sudanese genotypes. This study is one of very few studies which have investigated the Sudanese local Pennisetum glaucum genotypes, giving full botanical and agronomic characters. This study can elucidate the use of these genotypes in any future improving programs. Pearl millet is protogynous, this helps the introgression of characters from other annual penicillaries into pearl millet and hence has helped in the genetic enrichment of this species as well as it can explain the non-homogeneity of many genotypes. Pearl millet responds very well to out breeding enhancement (heterosis breeding); Hazza (1994) indicated that the increase in grain yield of the hybrid over its parents could mount up to 74.2% due to outbreeding enhancement effect, thus hybrid seed production is possible (Jauhur, 1981) . Concerning African pearl millet landraces, there is a long history of recombination among west-African subpopulations compared to other land races (Serba et al., 2019) . Estimation of natural variability generally can provide more efficient way to identify potential accessions and help in the improvement of different genotypes collections in plant breeding (Kumari et al., 2016) . In Sudan the production of pearl millet was 28.6 million tons and average grain yield was 772.0 kg/ha in 1998 (FAO, 1999) . Pearl millet provides staple food to 3.5 million people of Western Sudan. Ninety one percent of the total millet is produced in the western states of the country (Kordofan and Darfur). In these states, however, yield levels are lowest. The annual rainfall in the millet growing areas varies between 250-750mm. The low yield of pearl millet in the Western parts of the country can be referred to many reasons, the most important are: Unpredictable low rain fall. The genotypes used almost are not adapted to the change in the period and the amount of rain. The rainy seasons becomes almost 90 days in duration whereas the local genotypes might take 4 months for maturing. Also, loss of seeds due to the dry seasons forced the farmers to buy seeds from markets without enough precautions, i.e. they almost lost their genotypes (Abuelgasim, 1999) . Traditional managements and cultivation methods, the use of hands and simple tools rather than machinery (Jain & El Ahmadi, 1981) . Social and economic reasons which played an important role directly and indirectly which was reflected in the absence of fertilizers and pesticides application. Pests and diseases; this crop is infected by many diseases and pests. After the drought season in 1991, seeds of many genotypes were imported from West Africa without enough precaution which might resulted in the loss of yield due to pests and diseases (Abuelgasim, 1999) . Pests rather than diseases cause extensive damage to pearl millet crop. In addition to the low yield and the factors mentioned, pearl millet faces many problems; these can be summarized as follows: The literature and research published about pearl millet is far less than that known for other cereals especially for its genetics and cytogenetic. It is considered as a crop of second importance since it does not contribute to the economy of the country. It cannot be imported as flour (ground grain) since it cannot be stored. This crop is not popular, so rarely used in food technology and processing.