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The best MABC progeny outperformed the recurrent parent by two to four times under severe drought conditions, with no yield reduction under optimal conditions.
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Kernel number in maize is correlated negatively with the length of the anthesis-silking interval (ASI).
A short ASI has been identified as an easily measured, visual trait which may identify enhanced drought tolerance in maize.
Results confirmed that there was no treatment by hybrid interaction at any site–yr for any of the parameters evaluated.
Delaying weed control reduced plant height, leaf tip number, shifted and reduced biomass accumulation, kernel number and grain yield and lengthened ASI for both hybrids.
Although yield losses occurred with the delay in weed control timing, no yield differences were observed between hybrids suggesting that there was no additional physiological cost associated with the drought tolerant traits.
The drought tolerant hybrid, however, was found to have a shorter ASI, lower kernel number and higher kernel wt compared to the non-drought tolerant hybrid.
Hence, physiologists and breeders have devoted significant efforts in identifying relevant secondary traits correlated to grain yield for indirect selection.
These include anthesis silking interval (ASI) between male and female flowering and several other morpho-physiological traits [8, 9].