Journal of Plant Physiology & Pathology ISSN: 2329-955X

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Research Article, J Plant Physiol Pathol Vol: 8 Issue: 4

Effects of Agronomic Practices on Blast (Pyricularia Grisea) and Yield Parameters of Finger Millet (Eleusinecoracana(L.) Gaertn) in Southern Guinea Savanna Zone of Nigeria

Tunwari BA1*, Gani M1, Shinggu CP1, Ibirinde DO1, Aji PO2, Kyugah JT2 and Williams WS3

1Department of Crop Production and Protection,Federal University Wukari

2Department of Biological Sciences, Federal University Wukari

3Adamawa State Polytechnic

*Corresponding Author:
Tunwari BA
Department of Crop Production and Protection,Federal University Wukari, Katsina - Ala Road, P.M.B. 1020, Wukari, Taraba State, Nigeria
Tel: +234 (0)8066043907
E-mail: [email protected]; [email protected]

Received Date: May 21, 2020; Accepted Date: May 31, 2020; Published Date: September 25, 2020

Citation: Tunwari BA, Gani M, Shinggu CP, Ibirinde DO, Aji PO, et al. (2020) Effects of Agronomic Practices on Blast (Pyricularia Grisea) and Yield Parameters of Finger Millet (Eleusinecoracana(L.) Gaertn) in Southern Guinea Savanna Zone of Nigeria. J Plant Physiol Pathol 8:4.

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Abstract

Finger millet is rich in proteins, sulphur, calcium, iron, low glycemic index and high fibre content. Despite its importance, it has yields of 400 kg ha-1 compared to 2,500 kg ha-1. Trials were conducted in 2017 and 2018 at the Research farm of Federal University Wukari (Latitude 7o50’-8o30’N and Longitude 9o68’-9o89’ E.) to investigate the response of finger millet and blast to plant population and fertilizer. The treatments consisted of two plant population (1 plant per stand and 2 plants per stand) and three N-fertilizer rates (0, 30 and 60 kg/ha). The treatments were laid out in factorial manner using RCBD with three replications. The results indicated that the leaf, neck and finger blast were highly significantly highest at 1 plant per stand and N level of 60 N kg ha-1. The highest numbers of effective tillers, fingers per head and 1000 kernel weight were recorded at the highest rate of 30N kg ha-1 compared to 0 N kg ha-1. Furthermore, plant population of 1 plant per stand and fertilization of 30 N kg ha-1 gave the highest grain yield (1728.42–2, 138.24 kg ha-1), compare to the lowest yield from 2 plants per stand and fertilizer rate of 0 kg ha-1.

Keywords: Agronomic practices; Fingermillet Blast; Yield parameters; Finger millet; Fertilizer rates

Keywords

Agronomic practices; Fingermillet Blast; Yield parameters; Finger millet; Fertilizer rates

Introduction

Finger millet (Eleusine coracana subsp. Coracana 2n=4x=36) belongs to the family Poaceae, subfamily Chloridoideae and is one of the neglected and underutilized crops of Africa. It is extensively cultivated in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of Africa and India and is known to save the lives of poor farmers from starvation at times of extreme drought [1] Finger millet ranks third in cereal production in semi-arid regions of the world after sorghum and pearl millet [2] It is indigenous to eastern Africa, where the oldest domesticated example of this crop was found in a prehistoric site at Axum, Ethiopia, dating back some 5000 years. Moreover, vast genetic diversity exists in this center of origin of Ethiopia and Uganda that has not been exploited to its full potential. In parts of eastern and southern Africa as well as in India, it became a staple upon which millions depend for food and rural household incomes. Its annual world production is at least 4.5 million tons of grain, of which Africa produces more than 2 million tons [2] Finger millet is adapted to a wide range of environments. The crop is grown mainly by subsistence farmers and serves as a food security crop because of its high nutritional value and excellent storage qualities [1].

Finger millet (Eleusine coracana L. Gaertn) is one of the minor cereals known with several health benefits which are attributed to its high level of polyphenol, dietary fibre, minerals and essential amino acids. Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that regular consumption of whole grain and their products can protect against the risk of cardiovascular diseases, type II diabetes, obesity, gastro intestinal cancers, anti-tumerogenic, atherosclerogenic effects, antioxidant and microbial properties and a range of other disorders [3]. The crop contains nutritionally important starch fractions which are slowly digested and absorbed and are favourable in the diet pattern for metabolic disorders such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity [1] reported that finger millet has been found to have high levels of methionine, tryptophan, vitamin B, fibres and minerals such as phosphorus, iron with its calcium level 40 times more than that found in maize (Zea mays (L.) and rice (Oryza sativa (L). 10 times more than that found in wheat (Triticum aestivum (L.); this makes the crop a good source of balanced diet formulations for diabetic patients, pregnant women, nursing mothers and children. It is also recognized as an important dietary supplement for HIV positive people and help sustaining malnourished people [3]. The high level of iron and calcium content of finger millet has been found to be relevant to populations inhabiting northern Nigeria where the incidence of iron deficiency causes anemia particularly in pregnant women [3] and calcium deficiency causes rickets in young children [3,1]. The ability of the crop to grow in water-deficit regions, the long storability of the seed for consumption and planting estimated to be at least ten years, the resistance of the grain against mould and insects make it a viable emergency food as it fits well in farmers’ risk avoidance strategies in drought-prone areas (Holt, 2000). Among the tropical cereals, finger millet provides the best quality malt for local brewing and is more preferred than maize or sorghum. The malt has good taste, easily digested, rich in amino acids and is an ideal base food for people of all age categories. [4] Finger millet straw is also a valuable livestock feed. It makes good fodder and contains up to 61% of total digestible nutrients better than pearl millet (Pennisetum americana), wheat (Triticum aestivum (L.). or sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L) Moench) [4,5]. The by-product from brewing has been reported to be a good source of fiber, mineral and protein used especially in household poultry feeding and suitable for breeding stock[6].

Despite its importance as a low input crop, its productivity in the region is limited to between 400 and 2,000 kg/ha [7]. It is estimated that finger millet accounts for some 10% of the 30 million tons of millet produced globally. Its yield potential for the crop is in the range of 4 to 5 tons ha-1 but yields vary greatly depending on the place of origin of the cultivar [1]. In West Africa (Nigeria), finger millet yields range between 0.6 to 0.8 tons ha-1 [8] There is evidence that finger millet production has been on a declining trend over the years. Production constraints responsible for the low yields have been identified as pests and diseases (blast and Striga), drought, low soil fertility, labor intensity, high weed infestation, low yielding varieties, lodging, and poor attitude to the crop [3]. Finger millet blast disease incited by Magnaporthe grisea (anamorph: Pyricularia grisea) is known to cause as much as 50% losses in yields. This disease has been identified as the highest priority constraint to finger millet production in Nigeria, since most landraces and a number of other genotypes are highly susceptible [9]. Moreover, finger millet is often cultivated in semi-arid and arid agro-ecology, where it is frequently affected by drought. In Nigeria, finger millet is mostly grown in two states of Kaduna, Plateau, and recently introduced to Taraba State by team of Researchers from Federal University Wukari, all in the northern parts of the country and remained unknown and unstudied in the country and threatened by extinction. Trials were conducted on establishing the optimum plant population, methods of sowing, and fertilizer rates in Wukari, Taraba State, Nigeria, but the status of blast disease on this crop was not yet to ascertain. Considering the nutritional and medicinal importance of finger millet, there is therefore, need the to ascertain the status and effect of some agronomic practices on blast disease and subsequent yield of finer millet in Taraba State for possible consumption and utilization by the local farmers to boost food security in the state.

Materials and Methods

Experimental Sites

Field trial was conducted during the 2017 and 2018 rainy seasons at the research farm of Federal University Wukari (Latitude 7.50N to 9.50N and longitude 100E to 120E). It is located in southern guinea savanna and wet season is between April to October and dry season between November to March.

Field Layout and Experimental Design

The trial was a 2 x 3 factorial arrangement consisting of two plant populations (1 plant per stand; 2 plants per stand) which were the main treatments and three nitrogen fertilizer rates (0, 30, and 60) which were the sub-treatments. These treatments were laid out in Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) and replicated three (3) times. The size of experimental plot is 4 m × 3 m. The borders between each plots and replicate were 1 m and 1.5 m respectively. A local susceptible Red variety (local check) was used for sowing.

The land was cleared with cutlass, stumped and ploughed with tractor. The experimental site was prepared to flat beds and the experimental plots marked out. The seeds were sown on 18th August, 2017 and repeated on the same time and place in Federal University Wukari research farm in 2018. The seeds were sown manually by dibbling at an inter and intra row spacing of 10 cm and 5 cm respectively, later thinned to one or two plants per stand according to treatments. Weeding was done manually on the experimental field with the aid of hoe. This operation was carried out two times (2weeks after emergence and 2weeks later).

Nitrogen fertilizer application was done according to main treatment rates of 0, 30 and 60. Meanwhile requirement for P and K were met at the rate of 30 kg P and 30 kg K per hectare. NPK 15:15:15 fertilizer was used according to treatments by side placement two weeks after emergence then; top dressing with urea was carried out to meet the balance of Nitrogen at three weeks after first application during the 2017 and 2018 cropping seasons.

Data Collection

Disease incidence score: Leaf incidence was assessed at seedling and booting stage, neck incidence score was assessed at harvest stage and finger blast incidence score was assessed at physiological maturity and harvest stage of plant growth. Disease incidence was recorded in percentages in the multiples of 10 (whichever is easier) from 0 to 100%.Leaf blast incidenceat seedlings and booting stages were recorded by counting the number of infected plant out of the total plant population. Percentage of the result was obtained by multiplying it by 100 [10]. Neck and finger blast incidences were estimated using the following formula:

Neck blastPercent disease incidence (%) = image

Finger blastPercent disease incidence (%) = image

Disease severity assessment

Leaf blast severity: Infected leaves exhibiting uniform lesion types were photographed to make color plates to aid in the classification of disease development. The leaf blast severity was recorded at 10 randomly tagged plants per plot using a progressive 1 to 9 scale, where 1=no lesions to small brown specks of pinhead size (0.1 mm-1.0 mm), less than 1% leaf area affected; 2=typical blast lesions covering 1-5% leaf area covered with lesions; 3=6-10%, 4=11-20%, 5=21-30%, 6=31- 40%, 7=41-50%, 8=51-75% and many leaves dead; and 9=typical blast lesions covering >75% leaf area or all the leaves dead (Figure 1).

Figure 1: The 9-class disease rating scale of Magnaporthe grisea.
Source: Mackill and Bonman, 1992)

Neck blast severity: Based on the relative lesion size on the neck a 1 to 5 progressive rating scale was developed where, 1=no lesions to pin head size of lesions on the neck region, 2=0.1 to 2.0 cm size of typical blast lesion on the neck region, 3=2.1 to 4.0 cm, 4=4.1 to 6.0 cm, and 5=>6.0 cm size of typical blast lesion on the neck region (Figure 2). Data were recorded in field at the physiological maturity on 10 randomly selected individual plants of each plot.

Figure 2: A 1–5 rating scale based on lesion size on neck region for recording neck blast severity.
Source: Mackill and Bonman, 1992)

Finger blast severity: The finger blast severity estimate was recorded as visual percentage of blasted florets across all tillers of a plant (Figure 3) on the same 10 randomly selected plants that were earlier rated for the neck blast severity in each row.

Figure 3: The per cent finger blast severity for finger millet plants infected with M. grisea. (a).
Out of 7 fingers, only half of the portion of finger is infected so, the per cent finger blast
Severity is 7% (b). Photograph showing more than 90% finger blast severity.
Source: Mackill and Bonman, 1992)

Agronomic traits: Data were also recorded for agronomic traits, such as days to flowering (DF) (time of full panicle emergence in 50% of the plants in a row), plant height (measured from the base of the plant to the tip of the panicle at maturity), and spike type (compactness of the panicle at maturity i.e. top curved, incurved and long open) numbers of effective tillers, fingers per head, 1000 kernel weight (g) and grain yield (GY in kgha-1) during 2017 and 2018 by following the finger millet descriptor [11].

Number of effective tillers per plant (NET): The numbers of tillers were determined based on ten random plants of each net plot

Number of fingers per head (NFPH): Finger number per plant was determined by countingfingers of the ten randomly taken plants and determining average per plant.

Thousand kernel weight (OTSW in g): kernel weight was determined by taking random sample of 1000 kernel weighing per each plot.

Statistical Analysis

The analysis of variance (ANOVA) of the data obtained from the experiments was carried out following the procedure outline by Gomez and Gomez (1984) for a factorial experiment in RCBD computation of the ANOVA was conducted with the help of GenStat Version 8.1 (2005) computer software Program. The differences between treatments means were compared using Least Significant Difference (LSD) test at 5% level of significance when the ANOVA showed the presence of significant difference.

Results

Identification

Leaf blast appears on leaves as small brown spots. Typical lesions are elliptical or diamond-shaped, with grey centers, water soaked and surrounded by a chlorotic halo (Figure 4). Neck blast is characterized by the appearance of brown lesions in the neck region. Lesions later girdle the neck. As the disease progresses, the affected portion may rot or dry out causing spikelet sterility. Finger blast appears as a discolouration of the fingers that dry prematurely to various degrees. The infected fingers may be shriveled with sterile grains depending on the time of infection.

Figure 4: Leaf blast lesion showing brown colouration with grayish centres.

Effect of plant population and fertilizer rate on leaf blast incidence and severityat Wukari, Taraba State

Results in Table 1 shows that plant population and fertilizer rates highly significantly influenced leaf blast incidence and severity at seedling and booting stages in 2017 and 2018 cropping seasons at Wukari, Taraba State, Nigeria. Plant population of one plant per stand recorded the highest leaf blast incidence at seedling stage (2.62) and booting stage (28.33), compared with two plants per stand. Similarly, one plant per stand exhibited highest leaf blast severity at booting stage (3.00), compared to two plants per stand with the lowest mean severity of 2.98. More tillers produced by plant population of one plant per stand could have been responsible for the high leaf blast incidence and severity. The predominant symptoms of blast disease in any given area depend upon the climatic conditions. According to [12] where there are long periods of drizzle or light rains, leaf blast at tillering stage is often severe and may kill the plants completely. Estimated yield losses due to leaf blast have been attempted. Leaf blast causes stunting of plants, and reduces the number of matured panicles, the 100 grain weight and the weight of grains [12]. Conidia are normally produced on lesions about 6 days after inoculation or spore landing on host plant. The rate of sporulation increases with increase in relative humidity; below 93% RH no conidia are produced [13]. A typical lesion is able to produce 2000-6000 conidia each day for about 14 days under laboratory conditions[12,14] reported that conidial formation reaches a peak 3-8 days after the appearance of lesions and 10-20 days after the appearance of lesions on rachis.

Treatment Leaf Blast Incidence at Seedling Stage Leaf Blast Incidence at Booting Stage Leaf Blast Severity at Booting Stage
Plant Pop(PP) 2017 2018 Pooled 2017 2018 Pooled 2017 2018 Pooled
1 Plant Per Stand 2.57 2.67 2.62 28.33 28.33 28.33 2.93 3.07 3.00
2 Plants Per Stand 2.36 2.63 2.50 27.93 27.93 27.93 2.96 3.00 2.98
S E 0.015 0.0069 0.011 0.048 0.048 0.048 0.0015 0.007 0.0043
LSD (5%) 0.043** 0.002** 0.023** 0.14** 0.14** 0.14** 0.003** 0.002** 0.0025**
Fert. Rate(FR)                  
0 2.18 2.37 2.28 25.60 25.60 25.60 2.50 2.47 2.49
30 2.51 2.57 2.54 27.40 27.40 27.40 2.90 2.87 2.89
60 2.70 2.89 2.80 31.39 31.39 31.39 3.40 3.77 3.59
Mean 2.47 2.60 2.54 28.13 28.13 28.13 2.93 3.03 2.98
SE 0.019 0.0085 0.0138 0.059 0.059 0.059 0.00 70.0085 35.0043
LSD(5%) 0.053** 0.0024** 0.028** 0.17** 0.17** 0.17** 0.002** 0.0024** 0.0022**

Table 1: Leaf blast Incidence and Severity at Wukari, Taraba State in 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Fertilizer rate of 60 kg N/ha encouraged highly significantly more leaf blast incidence at seedling stage (2.80), booting stage (31.39) and leaf blast severity at booting stage (3.59), compared with results obtained from even 30 kg N/ha of 2.54, 27.40 and 2.89 respectively. Many experiments over long period have shown that a high nitrogen supply always induces heavy incidence of blast regardless of the phosphorus or potassium supply [12]. The intensity of the effect of nitrogen on the disease varies with soil and climatic conditions and also with method of applying the fertilizer. The effect is great when quick-acting nitrogenous fertilizers, such as ammonium sulphate, are applied in excess and all at once. Split applications usually lessen the effect. Marked effects are also found in soils of low fertilizer-holding capacity, such as sandy or shallow soils, while the effect is less in clay soils or deep soils [15,12]. Delayed or large top dressing or heavy application of green manure often causes severe disease.

Effect of plant population and fertilizer rate on neck blast incidence and severity Wukari, Taraba State

Effect of plant population and fertilizer rates on neck blast incidence at physiological maturity; harvest and neck blast severity at harvest are presented in Table 2. The results presented highly significant highest neck blast incidence with respect to one plant per stand at physiological maturity (3.73), harvest (3.97) and neck blast severity at harvest (4.36), compared to two plants per stand of 3.69, 3.86 and 4.34 respectively. More tillers produced by plant population of one plant per stand could have been responsible for the high neck blast incidence and severity. Furthermore, fertilizer rate of 60 gave highly significant more neck blast incidence with respect to one plant per stand at physiological maturity (4.16), harvest (4.51) and neck blast severity at harvest(4.83), compared to zero fertilizer rate. It was also observed that 30 kg N/ha was found optimum for maintaining low disease without sacrificing the yield. It is well known that nitrogen fertilization favours the development of blast [16] but the mechanisms are not well understood. Fertilization with nitrogen increases host susceptibility [17-19] the possible indirect role of nitrogen could be increasing over all water consumption. In upland rice, nitrogen application increases water consumption by increasing the leaf are a index and thereby, increasing the total plant transpiration. Nitrogen application will tend to increase the plant water deficit if the water supply is limiting. An enhanced plant water deficit greatly increases host susceptibility to blast. This condition may be analogous to the case of fusarium foot rot of wheat, where nitrogen enhances disease indirectly by increasing leaf area and water consumption, resulting in lower plant water potentials, which in turn favours the pathogen.

Treatment Neck Blast Incidence at Physiological Maturity Neck Blast Incidence at Harvest Neck Blast Severity at Harvest
Plant Pop. (PP) 2017 2018 Pooled 2017 2018 Pooled 2017 2018 Pooled
1 Plant Per Stand 3.57 3.88 3.73 3.93 4.01 3.97 4.37 4.35 4.36
2 Plants Per Stand 3.49 3.88 3.69 3.90 3.82 3.86 4.33 4.34 4.34
S E 0.0084 0.00181 0.0102 0.0069 0.0062 0.0066 0.0069 0.0070 0.0070
LSD (5%) 0.024** 0.025** 0.025** 0.02** 0.0016** 0.011** 0.020** 0.031** 0.026**
Fert. Rate(FR)           r      
0 3.07 2.40 2.74 3.37 3.28 3.33 3.77 3.79 3.78
30 3.67 3.80 3.74 3.87 3.96 3.92 4.47 4.51 4.49
60 3.86 4.45 4.16 4.52 4.50 4.51 4.82 4.84 4.83
Mean 3.53 3.88 3.71 3.92 3.95 3.94 4.35 4.38 4.37
SE 0.0103 0.0017 0.006 0.0085 0.0087 0.0086 0.0085 0.0087 0.0086
LSD(5%) 0.029** 0.027** 0.028** 0.024** 0.027** 0.026** 0.024** 0.026** 0.025**

Table 2: Neck blast Incidence and Severity at Wukari, Taraba State in 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Effect of plant population and fertilizer rate on Finger blast Incidence and Severity at Wukari, Taraba State

The results in Table 3 revealed that one plant per stand gave highly statistically lowest finger blast incidence at harvest (24.92), compared with two plants per stand of 31.82. However, finger blast severity at harvest is highly significant at one plant per stand (24.11), compared with two plants per stand (23.81). Fertilizer rate of 60 highly maintained more incidence (33.99)and severity(27.09), compared to the other fertilizer rates.

Treatment Finger Blast Incidence at Harvest Finger Blast Severity at Harvest
Plant Population(PP) 2017 2018 Pooled 2017 2018 Pooled
1 Plant Per Stand 24.14 25.70 24.92 21.01 27.20 24.11
2 Plants Per Stand 27.74 35.90 31.82 20.90 26.72 23.81
S E 0.0074 0.0085 0.0080 0.0077 0.0015 0.0046
LSD (5%) 0.0021** 0.0037** 0.0029** 0.022** 0.0027** 0.012**
Fertilizer Rate(FR)            
0 23.68 25.50 24.59 15.79 21.80 18.80
30 26.67 28.75 27.71 20.67 23.50 22.09
60 30.47 37.50 33.99 26.47 27.70 27.09
Mean 26.94 30.58 28.76 20.97 24.33 22.65
SE 0.0091 0.012 0.011 0.0094 0.023 0.016
LSD(5%) 0.0026** 0.0028** 0.0027** 0.027** 0.032** 0.030**

Table 3: Finger blast Incidence and Severity at Wukari, Taraba State in 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Effect of plant population and fertilizer rate on Agronomic Parameters and Yield Finger Millet at Wukari, Taraba State

As seen in Table 4, one plant per stand significantly maintained the highest NET (9.54), NFPH (6.70), OTSW (4.06 g) and subsequently highest yield (1728.42), compared to two plants per stand of 4.47, 6.55, 3.86 g and 1725 kgha-1 respectively. In a study with wheat, yields did not vary over a wide range of populations [20]. This may be attributed by plant survival and tillering. Finger millet is a crop with high tillering ability and this has been found to have a positive effect on crop biomass and yield [8]. Wheat, a crop with similarly high tillering ability, compensated for low population densities by increased production and survival of tillers [21]. This study indicated that the lower the seeding rate, the higher the tillering ability and the higher the chlorophyll content of the leaves of finger millet, possibly due to increased radiation capture, hence increased radiation use efficiency.

Treatment No of Effective Tillers No of Finger Per Head 1000 - Seed Weight (g) Grown Yield (Kg/ha)
Plt Pop. 2017 2018 Pooled 2017 2018 Pooled 2017 2018 Pooled 2017 2018 Pooled
1 Plant Per Stand 4.62 4.92 9.54 6.54 6.85 6.70 3.91 4.20 4.06 1726.33 1730.50 1728.42
2 Plants Per Stand 4.58 4.35 4.47 6.47 6.62 6.55 3.84 3.88 3.86 1723.22 1725.70 1725.46
S E 0.0055 0.0037 0.0046 0.0075 0.0082 0.0079 0.0077 0.0079 0.0078 0.42 0.47 0.45
LSD (5%) 0.016** 0.017** 0.017** 0.021** 0.025** 0.023** 0.022** 0.0023** 0.012** 1.20** 1.52** 1.36**
Fertilizer Rate(FR)                        
0 3.41 3.72 3.57 5.76 5.90 5.83 3.39 3.45 3.42 1332 1345 1338.5
30 5.57 5.44 5.51 7.18 7.43 7.31 4.77 4.85 9.62 2136.67 2139.80 2138.24
60 4.84 4.58 4.71 6.57 6.72 6.65 3.47 3.67 3.57 1705.67 1812.50 1759.1
Mean 4.60 4.64 4.62 6.50 6.74 6.62 3.87 3.99 3.93 1724.78 1765.77 1745.28
SE 0.0067 0.0061 0.0064 0.0091 0.021 0.0151 0.0094 0.012 0.0107 0.52 0.59 0.56
LSD(5%) 0.019** 0.015** 0.017** 0.026** 0.027** 0.027** 0.027** 0.031** 0.029** 1.47** 1.57** 1.52**

Table 4: Effect of Agronomic Parameters on Yield of Finger Millet at Wukari, Taraba State in 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Nitrogen fertilizer rate of 30 kgha-1 as seen in Table 4 revealed highly more NET (5.51), NFPH (7.31), OTSW (9.62 g) and GY (2138.24 kgha-1), compared to rates of 0 kgha-1 and 60 kgha-1.

The results are consistent with the results of [22] who reported that the increase in fertilization rate increased thousand kernel weights. Similarly [23] reported that 1000-kernel weight of wheat also significantly increased with all levels of fertilizers compared to control. Finger millet responds well to N application [24-26] since many of the soils in the semi-arid regions of Asia are deficient in N [27]. Studies concerning N management in finger millet are mainly focused on the amount of N applied, timing of application, and varietal responses to N. [27,28] reported increases in yield and grain protein content in finger millet due to N fertilizer application rates of up to 40 kg N ha-1in Andhra Pradesh, India. The authors claimed that the economic optimum rate of N fertilizer for finger millet was 43.5 kg ha-1 under rainfed conditions. [25] reported that finger millet grain yield was 23.1 kg per kg N at 20 kg N ha-1, while the yield benefit declined to 19.9 kg per kg N at 60 kg N ha-1. These results suggest that application of the correct dose of N fertilizer is important in order to maximize the profits of poor finger millet farmers.

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