EFFICACY OF SEED TREATMENTS ON MAIZE (Zea mays L.) SEED GERMINATION, PLANT ESTABLISHMENT, GROWTH AND YIELD
Maize (Zea mays L.) is an important cereal crop worldwide and a staple food crop consumed in most developing countries. Maize yields in Ghana are constrained by poor seed quality, seed and soil borne pathogens and poor soil management practices etc. Yields from farmers’ fields are between 1.5 to 2.3 metric tonnes per hectare annually. Increased yields can be obtained through proper soil management practices, the use of improved seeds and seed treatment technologies. Little is known and reported locally of the benefit of seed treatment chemicals. The efficacy of seed treatments on the Ghanaian market was evaluated in this study on plant establishment, growth and yield of three varieties of maize in the coastal and forest savannah transition zones of Ghana. A total of 12 treatment combinations were arranged in a randomized complete block design by ecological zones. Significant differences were observed among the seed treatments after 14 days, for field emergence and plant establishment. For the coastal zone, Monceren GT 390 FS recorded 97.5%, Seed power 44WS, 95.23%, Neem seed powder, 85.11% and untreated control, 62.6%. Maize growth was significant for seed treatments effects on plant height, which ranged between 93.11cm to 108.87cm after 8 weeks, leaf area index (LAI) ranged between 0.47 to 0.75. Grain yield (MT/ha) estimated for treated seeds differed significantly from the untreated control seed plots: Monceren GT 390 FS recorded 5.01MT/ha; Seed power 44WS, 4.26MT/ha; Neem seed powder, 3.96MT/ha and the untreated control, 2.85MT/ha. At the coastal savannah site, economic analysis of the use of seed treatments against untreated control seeds via partial budgeting analysis revealed that all the seed treatments gained an additional GH¢ 1,324.45/ha to GH¢2,576.87/ha. At the forest savannah transition site, only Monceren GT 390 FS gained GH¢13.67/ha. Based on these findings, seed treatment chemicals are generally recommended to farmers for adoption for enhanced field establishment, improved crop yields, and a guaranteed economic advantage.