Evaluation of Yield Potential of Common Millet (Panicum miliaceum L.) Ecotypes under Normal and Water Deficit Conditions

Document Type : Scientific - Research


Department of Agronomy and Plant Breeding, Faculty of Agriculture, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Iran


Common millet (Panicum miliaceum L.) is a cereal plant cultivated for its grain, mostly in semi-arid regions of Iran. It is a warm-season and C4 grass with higher water use efficiency than C3 plants, short growing season, low moisture requirement, relatively high drought resistance and is capable of producing food or feed where other grain crops would fail. Water resources deficit and drought stress is becoming a major threat to plant productivity loss in agricultural systems therefore optimum use of limited water resources and seasonal scattered rainfall and water use efficiency is necessary. Drought stress leads to lower growth, yield and yield components in pearl millet. Super ab‌sorbent polymers have a great importance for their role in increase of absorption capacity and saving water in the soil and to combat water shortage conditions. The water holding capacity of super ab‌sorbent polymers helps to keep plants from sitting in water logged soil in times of excess moisture. Then, as moisture is needed, super ab‌sorbent polymers release moisture back into the root zone helping to maintain consistent soil moisture. Positive impact of super absorbent polymers on growth and yield of soybean and corn under water limited condition have been reported. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of different levels of water deficit and super absorbent polymers on morphological and physiological characteristics of millet ecotypes.
Material and methods
The experiment was carried out during spring and summer of 2013 in Faculty of agriculture research field of Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman (56º, 58'E; 30º, 15'N and 1754 m elevation). Soil type was a Sandy-loam, with pH 7.6 and mean annual precipitation of 150 mm. The experiment was carried out in a split plot arrangement based on RCBD design with three replications. Irrigation treatments included three levels: normal irrigation, drought stress with super absorbent application and drought stress were applied in main plots and Zahedan, Kahnooj, Ghale-ganj, Golbaf, p25 line and Pishahang Ecotypes as plant material were sown in sub plots. Irrigation intervals were conducted based on 50 and 100 mm evaporation from class A pan evaporation. Plants were harvested at the end of the growing season to determination of plant height, biological and grain yield. Ion leakage percent were measured based on method proposed by Zheng et al. (2008). Statistical analysis was done by MSTAT-C, Excel and SAS softwares and means were compared by Duncan’s multiple range test at 5% of probability level.
Results and discussion
The results showed that significantly increased were observed in stem length, grain and biological yield in super absorbent polymer application in comparison with the non-application in stress conditions. Stern et al. (1992) reported that the use of super absorbent polymers increased dry matter in wheat. The use of super absorbent decreased ion leakage that was consistent with the results of Harvey (2002). Pishahang cultivar had the higher biological yield in stress condition with super absorbent application compared to the other ecotypes of millet. Kahnooj ecotype in stem length and Ghale-ganj in grain yield significantly higher than the others. Kahnooj ecotype had the lower ionic leakage than the others. The results of this research revealed that Golbaf ecotype in drought stress and Ghale-ganj ecotype in drought by applying super absorbent conditions had significant performance. Application of super absorbent polymer increased 55.3% in grain yield compared to the non-application under drought stress. Stoker (1960) reported that drought stress leaded to increase in ionic leakage and reduced plant height and create short plants. Application of super absorbent polymers to reduce the devastating effects of drought on soybean and corn have been reported.
The super absorbent polymer increased grain yield compared to normal irrigation which indicating very positive and direct effect of this polymer in maintaining soil moisture nearby the plant roots and reducing the adverse effects of drought stress as well as increasing grain yield in millet ecotypes, therefore could be helpful materials for more utilization of plants potential in conditions and environments with water limitation.


Bidinger, F.R., Mahalakshmi, V., and Rao, G.D.P. 1987. Assessment of drought resistance in pearl millet [Pennisetum americanum (L.) Leeke]. II. Estimation of genotype response to stress. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 38: 49-59.
Harvey, I. 2002. Use of hydrogels to reduce leaf loss haster root. Establishment Forest Research 45: 220-228.
Ibrahim, Y.M., Marcarian, V., and Dobrenz, A. K. 1995. Pearl millet response to different irrigation water stress: II Porometer parameters, photosynthesis, and water use efficiency. Emirates Journal of Agricultural Science 7: 20.
Karimi, A., and Naderi, M. 2007. Effect of superabsorbent polymer on yield and water use efficiency of corn in soils with different textures. Journal of Agricultural Research: Water, Soil and Crop Farming 7: 3.
Khazaie, H.R., and Kafi, M. 2003. Effect of drought stress on root growth and dry matter partitioning between roots and shoots of winter wheat. Iranian Journal of Filed Crops Research 1: 33-43 (In Persian with English Summry)
Kouckakzadeh, M., Sabbagh Farshi, A.A., and Ganji Khorramdel, N. 2000. Extra-absorbent polymer influence on some soil physical properties. Soil and Water Sciences Journal 14(2): 176-186.
Kusaka, M., Lalusin, A.G., and Fujimura, T. 2005. The maintenance of growth and turgor in pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) Leeke) cultivars with different root structures and osmo-regulation under drought stress. Plant Science 168: 1-14.
Rostam Pour, M., Seghatoleslami, M.J., and Mosavi, G. 2010. Effect of super absorbent dry and the relative water content and chlorophyll index and their correlation with grain yield in maize. Journal of Crop Physiology 2(1): 19-31. (In Persian with English Summry)
Siddique, M.R.B., Hamid, A., and Islam, M.S. 2000. Drought stress effects on water relations of wheat. Botanical Bulletin of Academia Sinica 41: 35-39.
Stern, R., Vanper Merwe, A.J., Laker, M.C., and Shaihbery, I. 1992. Effect soil surface treatments on runoff and wheat yield under irrigation. Agronomy Journal. 84: 114-119.
Stocker, O. 1960. Physiological and morphological changes in plants due to water deficiency. Arid Zone Research 15: 63-104.
Vannozi, G., and Larner, F. 2007. Proline accumulation during drought rhizogene in maise. Journal Plant Physiology 85: 441-467.
Yazdani, F., Allahdadi, A., Akbari, G., and Behbahani, M.R. 2004. Effect of different rates of superabsorbent polymer (Tarawat A200) on soybean yield and yield components. Pajouhesh and Sazandegi 75: 167-174. (In Persian with English Summry)
Zheng, Y.H., Jia, A.J., Ning, T.Y., Xu, J.L., Li, Z.J., and Jiang, G.M. 2008. Potassium nitrate application alleviates sodium chloride stress in winter wheat cultivars differing in salt tolerance. Journal of Plant Physiology 165: 1455-1465.