Evaluation of food barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) varieties on yield and yield components at different rates of blended nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and boron fertilizer rates at Kechi, Southern Ethiopia
Barley is an important cereal crop in Ethiopia, accounting for nearly 25% of the total production. However, the trend of food barley production in the area has been declining for the past few years. The major production constraints for food barley production in Ethiopia, including the study area, are soil acidity and soil fertility. As a result, a field experiment was carried out during the 2019/20 cropping season at Wolaita Sodo University's Kechi testing site with the objective of evaluating the response of food barley varieties to NPSB fertiliser rates. Three food barley varieties (HB 1307, EH 1493, and local cultivar) and five NPSB fertiliser rates (0, 50, 100, 150, and 200 kg/ha) were used in the treatments. The treatments were combined in a factorial design and laid out in a randomised complete block design (RCBD) with three replications. Data for yield and yield related parameters were recorded during the specific phenological stage of the crop. The results revealed that days to heading and maturity were prolonged for all varieties as NPSB rates increased, with the longest days to heading and maturity recorded for variety BH 1307 at a NPSB rate of 200 kg/ha. At a NPSB fertiliser rate of 200 kg/ha, variety EH 1493 had the tallest plant heights and the longest spike length. The highest number of seeds per spike was observed for variety EH1493 at an NPSB rate of 150 kg/ha, whereas the highest TSW was seen for variety EH1493 at an NPSB rate of 100 kg/ha. The greatest biomass yield was obtained from variety BH 1307 at an NPSB fertiliser rate of 200 kg/ha, and the highest grain yield was observed for variety EH 1493 at an NPSB rate of 100 kg/ha. This result revealed that varieties EH 1493 and BH 1309 showed superior performance with better grain over local cultivars at NPSB fertiliser rates of 100 kg/ha. Based on the results of this study, it could be concluded that this blended NPSB application rate is superior for the production of food barley in the study area.