Genetic Improvement of Desi Type Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) Varieties Yield Potential and Its Agronomic Trait Determinants in Ethiopia from 1974-2010

Tibebu Belete


A set of experiment was conducted to estimate the amount of genetic gain made over time in grain yield potential and changes in morphological characters associated with genetic yield potential improvement of Desi type chickpea varieties. The varieties were laid down in a randomized complete block design with three replications in 2010 cropping season. Analysis of variance revealed significant differences among varieties for all traits except primary and secondary branches plant-1. Grain yield was increased by 1589.70 kg ha-1 to 2303.30 kg ha-1 over the past 36 years. The average annual rate of increase per year of release for the period 1974-2010 as estimated from the slope of the graph of linear regression of mean grain yield on year of variety release was 18.42 kg ha-1 with a relative genetic gain of 1.16% yr-1. Varieties developed from introduction demonstrate a yield improvement of 428.28kg ha-1 (25.79%) over varieties developed through direct selection from local collections. Grain yield potential of Desi type chickpea has not attained plateau in Ethiopia. Thus, development of higher yielding varieties of Desi type chickpea should continue to increase chickpea grain yields if past trends pretend the future. Biomass yield and primary branches plant-1also showed significant increase with respective annual genetic gains of 1.16 and 0.43%. On the contrary, secondary branches plant-1 showed a significant trend of decreasing over years. Linear regression also indicated that significant improvements in biomass production rate, seed growth rate and grain yield day-1. No marked changes were observed in phenological traits, harvest index, plant height, number of pods plant-1, seeds pod-1, seeds plant-1, grain yield plant-1 and hundred seed weight which implied that Desi type chickpea has failed to bring a substantial progress on these traits. Grain yield was significantly and positively associated with biomass yield, number of primary branches plant-1, grain yield day-1, biomass production rate and seed growth rate, whereas there was no significant correlation between grain yield and phenological traits, harvest index, plant height, hundred seed weight, secondary branches plant-1, pods plant-1, seeds pod-1 and  seeds plant-1. Stepwise regression analysis also revealed that most of the variation in grain yield was caused by biomass yield and harvest index.

Keywords: Desi type chickpea, Genetic improvement, Harvest index, Hundred seed weight, Grain yield, Yield components


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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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