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Seed coating herbicide tolerant maize hybrids with imazapyr for Striga hermonthica (Del.) Benth control in the West African savanna
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Striga hermonthica is a serious threat to cereal production in the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa. Field trials were conducted in Nigeria at Abuja and Mokwa (southern Guinea savanna) in 2005 and 2006, and at Zaria (northern Guinea savanna) and Sabongari (Sudan savanna) in 2006, to evaluate the performance of imazapyr coated maize hybrids with the herbicide resistance (IR) gene under Striga infestation. Treatments were seven IR maize hybrids, and three checks without the IR gene (the commercial hybrid Oba Super 1, a Striga tolerant line 9022-13, and a Striga susceptible line 8338-1). The hybrids were either coated with imazapyr and sown under Striga infestation or uncoated and sown in Striga-free conditions. Across all locations, six of the IR maize hybrids were high-yielding under Striga infestation. Seed coating significantly reduced Striga emergence and damage to the maize plants at all locations. The Striga susceptible hybrid check, 8338-1, had a high level of Striga damage and sustained a yield loss of 99% when uncoated and sown under Striga infested conditions. In Striga-free plots, the checks had yields comparable to that of the seven IR maize hybrids. Significant negative correlations were detected between grain yield and Striga damage ratings (rp = -0.64) at Abuja and Mokwa. The findings indicate that seed coating IR maize hybrids with imazapyr was effective for Striga hermonthica control.