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Maydica XXXII (1987): 287-299




D epartm ent o f A gronom y

In stitu te fo r A g ricu ltu ra l Research, Sam aru
A hm adu B ello U niversity
Z a ria , N igeria

Received 17 July, 1987

ABSTRACT - Field trials were conducted at Samaru - Zaria and Samaru-Kataf in 1981 and
1982 to evaluate the effect o f three planting methods on growth and yield performance of
“Dauro” millet. The direct sowing method gave the highest number of flowering tillers per
plant and tallest plants at both locations. This method also gave the highest grain yield at
Samaru-Kataf but resulted in the lowest grain yield at Samaru-Zaria. The direct sown plants
adversely suffered from the highest plant mortality at both locations and stem borer attack
at Samaru-Zaria. The slant transplanting method was superior in terms o f number o f harve-
stable heads while the upright transplanting method was superior in terms of 1000-grains
weight. The different planting methods showed variable effects on the weight o f heads but
did not affect the incidence of downy mildew.

KEY WORDS: Planting methods; Grain yield; “Dauro” millet.


“Dauro” is one of the three types of pearl millet (Pennisetum typhoides

S. & H.) grown in Nigeria; the others being “Gero” and “Maiwa”. “Dauro”
is a unique millet, as it is the only type raised in nursery beds and the
seedlings later transplanted into the production field. O n the other hand
“Gero” and “Maiwa” are established by sowing directly into the production

Present adresses: 1 Faculty o f Agriculture, University o f Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.

ICRISAT-Sahelian Center, Niamey, Niger Republic.

field and are more widely grown. “Dauro” is however similar to “Maiwa”
in being short-day sensitive and late-maturing in contrast to “Gero”, which
is - day-neutral and early-maturing (B hardwaj and W ebster, 1971).
In the main “Dauro” producing area, the transplanting of the crop
makes it possible for the field to be double-cropped during the rainy sea­
son. The local varieties of early-maturing groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.)
and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp) are used as preceding crops and
harvested before “Dauro” is transplanted. The seedlings are transplanted in­
variably in a slanting position of 20-45° to the soil surface. Apart from the
merit of double cropping, it is not known whether the transplanting of
“Dauro” has any yield advantage over the direct sowing which is conven­
tional for other pearl millets. However, in India, several transplanting stu­
dies with “Bajra”, a pearl millet type similar to the Nigerian “Gero”, have
shown grain yield advantage over the conventional direct sowing (T omer ,
et al., 1974; P al , 1976; G urha , 1980).
Considering the dearth of knowledge about the yield advantage of
transplanting “Dauro” and the rationale behind its transplanting in a slan­
ting position, the study reported here was conducted to determine the per­
formance o f the crop under different planting methods.


Trials were conducted in 1981 and 1982 at the research farm o f the Institute for Agri­
cultural Research, Samaru-Zaria ( i f l l N , 07° 3811) and at the Kaduna state Farm Centre,
Samaru-Kataf (09° 44 N, 08° 23 E), Nigeria. Samaru-Zaria lies in the northern Guinea savan­
na and represents the main “Gero” and “Maiwa” growing area in Nigeria, while Samaru-Kataf
is in the southern Guinea savanna and represents the typical area where ”Dauro” presendy
predominates. The soils at both locations are well-drained sandy loam classified generally as
ferruginous tropical soil for Samaru-Zaria area and undifferentiated and weakly developed
tropical soil for Samaru-Kataf area (Tom linson , 1965). The soil samples taken at 0-20cm
depth from the experimental fields before the first crop in 1981 gave the results for Samaru-
Zaria and Samaru-Kataf, respectively, as follows: pH (1:1, soil: water) 6.4 and 4.7; total nitro­
gen 0.025 and 0.039%; total phosphorus 147.39 and 145.02 ppm; organic carbon 0.37 and
0.62%; exchangeable cations (meq/lOOg soil) sodium 0.05 and 0.05; potassium 0.06 and 0.07
and calcium + magnesium 1.36 and 1.40; cation exchange capacity (meq/lOOg soil) 4.70 and
5.60 and base saturation 31.28 and 27.14%.

Three planting methods, namely direct sowing, slant transplanting and upright trans-

planting were compared. The three treatments were arranged in a randomized complete
block design and replicated three times. Each gross plot was 36m2 and had the inner area of
21.6m2 as the net plot from where all the data were taken. Direct sowing was accomplished
by sowing the seeds directly in the production field. The seedlings raised in the nursery beds
were transplanted into the production field at the angles of 20-45° and about 90° between
the seedling and the soil surface to achieve the slant and upright transplanting, respectively.
Direct sowing in the field and seeding in the nursery beds to raise seedling were done on
the same day. Each crop was sown on 22 June, 1981 and 21 June, 1982 at Samaru-Zaira and
on 6 July, 1981 and 26 July, 1982 at Samaru-Kataf. The variation in the dates of sowing bet­
ween the two locations was dictated by the pattern of rainfall cessation which occurs earlier
at Samaru-Zaria. The difference in the dates of sowing at Samaru-Kataf was caused by late
land preparation in 1982. The direct sown plants were thinned to one plant per stand at two
weeks after sowing. The seedlings in the nursery beds were ready for transplanting at four
weeks after seeding but transplanting was done only when sufficient rainfall had been recei­
ved. Each crop was transplanted on 24 July, 1981 and 28 July, 1982 at Samaru-Zaria and on
13 August, 1981 and 6 September, 1982 at Samaru-Kataf. Both seeds and seedlings were
planted at 26cm apart along 60-cm ridges.

There is no specific fertilizer rate recommended for “Dauro” millet yet but prior to any-
planting, the entire production field received a basal dose of 200 lcg/ha of 15-15-15 com­
pound fertilizer during the seed bed preparation. Additional doses of 60 kg N and 30 kg
each of P20 5 and KzO per hectare, being the recommended rates for “Gero” millet (SlNGH ct
al., 1983), were side-dressed to the entire crop at two weeks after transplanting. Plots were
hoe-weeded twice during the growth of each crop. Vetox 85 (Carbaryl) was sprayed at 1.12
kg a.l/ha to check the attack of stem borers (A cigona ignefusalis Hamp.) in both years at Sa­
maru-Zaira. Spraying was started on 24 August, 1981 and 10 September, 1982 and repeated
at fortnightly intervals for three times in 1981 and two times in 1982. Each crop was har­
vested on 1 and 3 November at Samaru-Zaria and on 3 and 11 December at Samaru-Kataf
in 1981 and 1982, respectively.

The data were collected on the number o f flowering tillers per plant, plant height,
number and weight o f harvestable heads, weight o f 1000 grains and grain yield. Q uelea birds
(Q uelea quelea L) attacked the grains at Samaru-Zaria, and therefore only the heads which still
retained at least one quarter of their grains were regarded as harvestable. Other parameters
assessed included plant mortality, and attack of stem borers and downy mildew (Sclerospora
(Sacc.) Schroet.). The attack o f stem borers was scored in 1981 at Samaru-Zaria
gram inicola
and that of downy mildew in both years at Samaru-Kataf, using the formula procedure as

Stem borer/downy mildew attack (°/o) = y x 100

where X = number of plants attacked per plot, and Y = total number of plants per plot.
Plant mortality was scored using the following procedure:

Plant mortality (%) = ______ x 100


where P = number of plants per plot at two weeks after sowing/transplanting, and h = num­
ber of plants per plot at harvest. The data collected were subjected to statistical analysis as
described by Leclerg et at. (1962) and treatment effects were compared using the least signi­
ficance difference (L.S.D.).


During the years of the study, rainfall ceased on 27 September in

1981 and on 9 October in 1982 at Samaru-Zaria and on 27 October in
1981 and on 1 November in 1982 at Samaru-Kataf. The total rainfall
amounts received during the growth of each crop in the respective years
were 727 and 557 mm at Samaru-Zaria and 640 and 737 mm at Samaru-
Kataf. The crop performance in most aspects showed a common pattern
between the direct sowing and transplanting methods. Only the crop at Sa­
maru-Zaria was attacked by stem borers and Quelea birds. Downy mildew
attacked the crop at both locations but the attack at Samaru-Zaria was very

Number o f Flowering Tillers and Plant Height.

Direct sowing resulted in the highest number o f flowering tillers per

plant but the slant and upright transplanting had no consistent results (Ta­
ble 1). However the highest number being reported for direct sowing did
not exceed three flowering tillers per plant. This indicates that “Dauro” is a
poor tillering millet as compared to “Gero” millet, for which E gharevba
(1977) had reported six to 12 tillers per plant. Despite the poor tillering,
there was a clear indication that “Dauro” developed more productive tillers
when it was established by direct sowing than by any form of transplan­
ting. This disparity in the number of flowering tillers arose mainly as a re­
sult of the transplants being raised first at a high seedling density in the
nursery beds and the late commencement o f their tillering. The high seed­
ling density caused the seedlings to grow spindly and thus adversely affec­
ted their subsequent growth vigour and consequently depressed their tille­
ring ability. The seedlings were transplanted at four to six weeks old and
commenced tillering in the third week after transplantig. The seedling age at

TABLE 1 - E ffect o f p la n tin g m ethods on the num ber o fflo w e rin g tillers a n d p la n t height in “D a u -
ro ” m illet at S a m a ru -Z a ria and S a m aru-K ataf.

Planting Method Samaru-Zaria Samaru-Kataf

1981 1982 Mean 1981 1982 Mean

N u m b er o f flo w erin g tillers/p la n t

Direct sowing 1.8 3.0 2.4 2.7 1.6 2.2

Slant transplanting 1.1 2.2 1.7 2.3 1.3 1.8

Upright transplantig 1.2 1.9 1.6 2.3 1.3 1.8

L.S.D. (5%) 0.19 0.64 0.30 ns 0.25 ns

P la n t height (m )

Direct sowing 2.91 3.32 3.12 3.05 2.85 2.95

Slant transplanting 2.86 3.26 3.06 2.95 2.42 2.69

Upright transplanting 2.77 3.29 3.03 3.05 2.27 2.66

L.S.D. (5%) ns ns ns ns 0.17 0.11

ns = not statistically significant


which the transplants commenced tillering was thus late when compared
with the seedling ages of three weeks in direct sown “Dauro” (Labe , 1987)
and two weeks in other pearl millets, particularly the Gero type (B eg g ,
1965; R a m o nd , 1968; E gharevba, 1977). The late commencement of tillering
in transplants thus shortened the interval between tillering and flowering
and resulted in only a few of the tillers being able to produce heads, the
effect which N anda and C hinoy (1958) have earlier attributed to unfavoura­
ble photoperiod consequence upon late tillers.
The effect of planting methods on plant height followed a similar pat­
tern as that observed for the number of tillers. The direct sown plants we­
re tallest but generally not significantly different from the transplants, ex­
cept in 1982 at Samaru-Kataf (Table 1). The tendency o f the plants esta­
blished by direct sowing to grow tallest could be explained on the basis of
the large size of their seedlings, which therefore had more growth vigour
than the transplanted seedlings. Another plausible reason could be the con­
tinued growth of the direct sown plants without any interruption; whereas
transplanting held up growth in transplants for sometime as the seedlings
had to re-establish before normal growth was resumed.

Stem Borer and Downy Mildew Attack and Plant Mortality

O f the factors which had adverse effects on “Dauro”, only the attack
o f stem borers and downy mildew and plant mortality were scored. The at­
tack of Quelea birds at Samaru-Zaria in both years of the study was one of
such adverse factors not scored. The birds caused the most serious grain
damage in spite of efforts made to scare them away by using bird scarers.
The attack of stem borers occurred only at Samaru-Zaria in 1981 and
1982 but was scored only in 1981, the year when the infestation was seve­
re. The attack on the crop was most severe on the direct sown plants (Ta­
ble 2). The slant and upright transplants had the same level of attack
which was significantly lower than that for the direct sown plants. The rea­
son for the pest preference on the direct sown plants was not known but
the low attack on the transplants corroborates the advantage o f transplan­
ting to check pest infestation reported early on rice (T empany, 1932; A nony ­
m ou s , 1967).
Downy mildew attacked “Dauro” at both locations but only the attack

TABLE 2 - E ffect o f p la n tin g m ethods on borer attack in “D a u ro ” m illet a t Sam a ru -Z a ria , dow ny
m ildew attack at S a m a ru -K a ta f a n d p la n t m ortality at both locations.

Samaru-Zaria Samaru-Kataf

Planting Method

1981 1982 Mean 1981 1982 Mean

Stem borer attack (% ) D ow ny m ildew attack ( 0/0)

Direct sowing 34.1 * 34.1 18.0 15.0 16.5

Slant transplanting 25.8 25.8 17.6 13.8 15.7

Upright transplantig 25.8 * 25.8 20.2 16.5 18.4

L.S.D. (5%) 5.8 5.8 ns ns ns

P la n t m ortality (% )

Direct sowing 24.3 26.8 25.6 16.6 18.1 17.4

Slant transplanting 14.3 13.9 14.1 7.6 16.0 11.8

Upright transplanting 15.4 11.5 13.5 9.6 15.0 12.3

L.S.D. (5»/o) 4.3 9.6 3.5 3.7 ns 2.7

ns = not statistically significant

* = Attack not severe for scoring


at Samaru-Kataf was assessed because the attack at Samaru-Zaria in both

years occurred only sporadically. The three planting methods did not differ
in their effect on the attack by downy mildew (Table 2). There was howe­
ver, a tendency o f the plants established by upright transplanting to be at­
tacked most. This result contrasts with the finding o f G urha (1 9 8 0 ) on
“Bajra” millet, for which transplanting per se was found to have reduced
the attack o f the disease as compared to direct sowing.
The plants established by direct sowing suffered the highest mortality
in both years and locations which generally was significantly higher than
the rate obtained on the slant and upright transplants, respectively (Table
2). The differences between the two transplanting methods were not signifi­
cant. The direct sown plants suffered from greater mortality than the trans­
plants because their establishment was four to six weeks earlier, which im­
plied longer encounter with the adverse field conditions such as pests, di­
seases and weeds. The highest attack of stem borers recorded under direct
sowing method at Samaru-Zaria indicated the magnitude o f effect of pests
on the direct sown plants.

Number and Weight o f Heads

The number of harvestable heads obtained was generally highest under

slant transplanting but this superiority was statistically significant only in
1982 at both locations. These differences occurred between slant transplan­
ting and direct sowing at Samaru-Zaria and upright transplanting at Sama­
ru-Kataf (Table 3). The superiority o f slant transplanting showed that the
highest number of flowering tillers under direct sowing did not contribute
substantially to the number of harvestable heads. This was probably as a
result of the highest plant mortality under direct sowing. Two other addi­
tional factors considered to have contributed at Samaru-Zaria were stem
borer and Quelea bird attack. The attack of stem borers, which was most
severe on the direct sown plants, destroyed and reduced the number of
culms that could have produced harvestable heads. This effect was evident
in the second year of the trial, when the stem borer attck was not severe
and there was therefore a corresponding increase in the number of harve­
stable heads. The direct sown plants flowered earlier than the transplants
and were the initial target o f attack by Quelea brids. The bird damage had
reduced the grain quantity of most heads to the extent that some became

unharvestable, a condition which also reduced the final number of heads.

The weight of harvestable heads was significantly affected by the plan­
ting methods in 1982 at Samaru-Zaria and in both years at Samaru-Kataf
(Table 3). However, there was no consistent effect of the planting methods
on the weight o f heads. The reason for the planting methods affecting the
weight o f heads differently was not known.

Thousand-grain Weight and Grain Yield

The plants established by upright transplanting produced generally the

highest 1000-grain weight but only the result in 1982 at Samaru-Kataf sho­
wed significant differences (Table 4). The tendency of the grains from the
upright transplanting method to have the greatest weight could be interpre­
ted that the upright transplants produced the largest grains.
Planting methods affected grain yield at Samaru-Kataf but had no ef­
fect on grain yield at Samaru-Zaria (Table 4). The results at Samaru-Kataf
showed the highest grain yield from direct sowing in both years but diffe­
red significantly from only the yield for slant transplanting in 1981 and
upright transplanting in 1982. The two transplanting methods at the same
location showed variable effects on grain yield but their respective mean
yields over the two years were not significantly different. The mean grain
yield for direct sowing showed significant advantage o f 26 and 29% over
the upright and slant transplanting respectively. Although planting methods
had no effect on grain yield at Samaru-Zaria, direct sowing tended to result
in the lowest grain yield. The poor performance of direct sowing at this lo­
cation could be attributed to the adverse effects of plant mortality and the
attack of stem borers and Quelea birds as explained earlier. The effect of
Quelea brids in causing large grain yield loss of millet in Nigeria is quite
common (H itch co c k , 1960; W ard , 1964). W ard (1964) reported that where
millet fields suffer severe bird damage, the crop is usually abandoned due
to complete grain damage in spite of efforts made by farmers to scare
away such birds. O n the other hand the grain yield advantage of direct so­
wing over transplanting at Samaru-Kataf also contradicted the results of
transplanting studies reported on “Bajra” millet in India (T omer et al., 1974;
P al , 1976; G urha , 1980). The contradiction in this regard could be due pri­
marily to “Dauro” and “Bajra” being different types of pearl millet. There-

TABLE 3 - E ffect o f p la n tin g m ethod on the num ber a n d w eight o f harvestable heads in “D a u -
ro ” m illet at S a m a ru -Z a ria and Sam aru-K ataf.

Samaru-Zaria Samaru-Kataf

Planting Method

1981 1982 Mean 1981 1982 Mean

N u m b er o f heads/plot

Direct sowing 92.4 110.6 101.5 182.0 185.6 183.8

Slant transplanting 91.0 141.1 116.1 190.8 188.1 189.5

Upright transplantig 87.7 129.3 109.0 174.6 152.9 163.8

L.S.D. (5%) ns 11.9 8.8 ns 25.7 19.2

W eight o f heads/plot (kg)

Direct sowing 1.47 2.05 1.74 4.74 4.74 4.74

Slant transplanting 1.47 2.67 2.07 3.67 4.69 4.18

Upright transplanting 1.58 2.34 1.96 5.01 3.67 4.34

L.S.D. (5%) ns 0.36 0.22 0.80 0.61 0.50

ns = not statistically significant


TABLE 4 - E ffect o f p la n tin g m ethods on 1000-grain w eight y ie ld in “D a u ro ” m illet a t S a m a ru -Z a -

ria and S a m aru-K ataf.

Samaru-Zaria Samaru-Kataf

Planting Method

1981 1982 Mean 1981 1982 Mean

1000-grain w eight (g)

Direct sowing 6.9 7.3 7.1 9.5 9.6 9.6

Slant transplanting 7.4 7.7 7.6 9.4 9.1 9.3

Upright transplantig 8.2 7.6 7.9 9.6 9.9 9.8

L.S.D. (5%) ns ns 0.5 ns 0.5 ns

G rain y ie ld (K g/ha)

Direct sowing 322 429 376 1348 1290 1319

Slant transplanting 345 531 438 799 1251 1026

Upright transplanting 334 467 401 1133 960 1047

L.S.D. (5%) ns ns ns 374 182 202

ns = not statistically significant


fore, for “Dauro” in this investigation, there was apparent grain yield advan­
tage of direct sowing over transplanting. This advantage however, deserves
further investigation considering the poor performance of direct sowing at
Samaru-Zaria and the non-significant differences that occurred between it
and any of the transplanting methods at Samaru-Kataf. There was also no
indication from this investigation to suggest why slant transplanting is being
practised by farmers in preference to upright transplanting.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT - The investigation reported in this paper forms part o f the Cereals
Research Programme of the Institute for Agricultural Research, Samaru. The Director of the
Institute is thanked for his kind permission to publish the paper. The technical assistance
rendered by Messrs. A. Oyilom, S. Ukata, N. Manu, S. Adabara and the staff o f the Kaduna
State Ministry of Agriculture at Samaru-Kataf is thankfully acknowledged.


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