Genotype by environment interaction effects on grain yield of highland maize (Zea mays L) hybrids
Ninsiima Kayaga, Hellen
Mahulé Elysé Alladassi, Boris
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Maize varieties adapted to highland environments are generally scarce in East and Central Africa (ECA) since most breeding efforts have focused on mid-altitude maize. As a result, farmers in the highlands of Uganda mainly grow varieties that are bred for the mid-altitude zones. Since these maize varieties are not adapted to highland conditions, their productivity in this region rarely exceeds 2 t ha-1. This study was aimed at determining the effect of genotype by environment interactions (GEI) on the grain yield of highland maize hybrids. The study was conducted in three highland locations of Uganda in the maize growing season of March to October 2015. Thirty-six F1 hybrids and two checks were arranged in a 2 x18 (0, 1) alpha lattice design with two replications. Hybrid by location interaction had highly significant differences (P ≤ 0.001) and explained 46.2% of phenotypic variance. Genotype by environment interactions (GEI), thus, had a strong effect on grain yield. Analyses revealed two maize megaenvironments, with AMH701-9/AMH703-22 hybrid emerging the best genotype in Kachwekano and Kalengyere (6.69 t ha-1 and 14.30 t ha-1), and AMH701-9/AMH701-20 hybrid being the best in Buginyanya (14.39 t ha-1). Efforts to breed for high yielding maize cultivars for the highland areas of Uganda should therefore focus more on specific adaptation than broad adaptation.