Finger millet is a staple food crop of many communities in Africa. The crop is highly nutritious and has incredible grain storage quality. Limited research investment in finger millet in the past has resulted in poor yields and there are currently no commercial hybrids. We investigated the response of different finger millet genotypes (Okhale-1, Gulu-E, KACCIMMI-72, IE 2872, IE 4115 and U-15) to the application of a plant growth regulator hormone (Ethrel). Six elite Kenyan finger millet varieties with contrasting agronomic traits were crossed in a 6 x 6 diallel pattern. To enhance male sterility across female parents, we subjected the plants to Ethrel at concentrations of 1,500ppm, 1,750ppm and 2,000ppm against a 0ppm check. Dwarfing of sprayed plants that resulted in less lodging and ultimately higher yields were observed among plants sprayed with Ethrel at different concentrations. Ethrel application at 2,000ppm had the most dwarfing effect on plants while spraying plants with 1,500ppm of Ethrel resulted in increased grain weight. Although our results demonstrate overall positive effect of Ethrel on finger millet production, the optimum concentrations for more efficient hybridization will still need to be determined.
International Letters of Natural Sciences (Volume 48)
J. S. Kunguni et al., "Response of Elite Kenyan Finger Millet (Eleusine coracana, L. Gaertn) Genotypes to Ethrel Application", International Letters of Natural Sciences, Vol. 48, pp. 43-52, 2015