EFFECT OF PLANT DENSITIES ON GROWTH AND YIELD POTENTIAL OF NERICA 10 RICE VARIETY (Oryza sativa L.) IN TAITA TAVETA COUNTY
AKULA, LEAH ANDISI
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Rice grain annual requirement in Kenya exceeds production, and is expected to increase from the current 0.55 million tonnes to 517.5 million tonnes by 2030 (KBS, 2016). In order to contribute to the rice deficit gap an experiment was carried out in Dembwa and Kipusi, Taita Taveta County in Kenya during the 2019 long rain season. Kipusi is situated at an altitude of 846m above sea level, on 3o28’45.8”S latitude and 38o22’56.4”E longitude while Dembwa is at an altitude of 1,088m above sea level on 3o26’50.3”S latitude and 38o21’46.4”E longitude. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the yield potential of the New Rice for Africa (Nerica 10) under selected plant densities within the County. The treatments included plant spacing, seeding rate per hill and their interaction. These treatments were laid out in Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with factorial arrangement and replicated three times. Data collected included: Initial soil chemical characteristics, plant height, number of tillers per hill, days to 50% heading, days to 80% maturity, panicle length, grains per panicle, 1000 grain weight, grain and straw yield. Collected data was subjected to analysis of variance using the procedure for General Linear Model and significant means at F-test were separated using Tukey’s test. All significant analysis was performed at p=0.05. The results showed that plant spacing of 20 cm x 10 cm at single seedlings per hill significantly (p ≤ 0.05) improved rice grain yield, dry biomass, straw yield and 1000grain weight by 58%, 33%, 37% and 24% respectively. The 20 cm x 10 cm spacing showed 23% higher harvest Index than farmers practice of 30 cm x 15 cm spacing. Therefore the interaction between 20 cm x 10 cm spacing and single seedling per hill was found to be the most effective for cultivation of Nerica 10 rice in Taita Taveta County.