Effect of seed priming on rate of seedling emergence, establishment and yield of four bambara groundnut (Vigna SubterraNeaL. Verdc.) Landraces

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The overall yield of any crop largely depends on high rate of seed emergence, adequate seedling establishment and growth and development. Bambara groundnut is a food security crop in the semi-arid savannas in Africa, providing human nutrition and health in subsistent households, yet, remains an underutilized legume species with little research intervention. This study assessed the effect of seed priming of four field-grown bambara groundnut landraces on seedling emergence, growth and grain yield at Wa and Kumasi in 2011 cropping season in the Guinea savannah and forest agro-ecological zones of Ghana respectively. There were marked site-specific significant differences (p≤0.05) among the traits assessed. Priming bambara groundnut seed in water for 24 h before sowing significantly enhanced final emergence, seedling establishment, growth and yield compared to the control (0hour prime). Furthermore, the primed Bambara groundnut genotypes flowered much earlier and produced greater dry matter, pod and grain yield at Wa than at Kumasi. The interactive effect of the landraces and the priming also revealed increased plant growth and grain yield in Kumasi than at Wa. This study offers useful information to improve bambara groundnut seed germination, plant stand and grain yield in the Guinea Savanna agro- ecological zone with more stressful environmental conditions. Finally, all the yield parameters were improved following seed priming, and 24 hours of soaking seeds in water is recommended since it appeared to be the best in most yield parameters.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the award of the Degree of Master Of Science In (Agronomy),