Knowledge on the physiological parameters that determine the growth of enset (Ensete ventricosum) and on how these parameters develop over time and affect yield under field conditions is scarce. Field experiments were carried out at three sites in southern Ethiopia using suckers of several clones to generate crop physiological parameters and to describe the time course of leaf number, leaf area and plant height. Yield potentials at different sites were estimated using these parameters and weather data, and compared with the actual yield. Plant height and LAI increased faster at Awassa and Areka than at Hagereselam because of a higher leaf appearance rate associated with temperatures being closer to the optimum. The trend in plant height was best described by a logistic function, whereas the trend in LAI was best described by a logistic function only at Awassa and Areka. A high leaf appearance rate (0.18 leaves day(-1)) during early growth at Awassa and Areka made it possible that leaves that were senesced during unfavourable climatic conditions could be rapidly replaced without strong fluctuation in leaf area index. At Hagereselam, however, the rate of leaf appearance (0.09 leaves day(-1)) was too small to compensate for the decline in the number of green leaves per plant during adverse conditions and thus LAI fluctuated over the whole growing period. The trend in fraction of PAR intercepted was best described by a generalised logistic function. At 300 days after transplanting the suckers, LAI reached a value of 4.5 and enset clones intercepted 92-97% of incoming PAR. The mean extinction coefficient was between 0.56-0.91 and radiation use efficiency (RUE) ranged from 1.43-2.67 g MJ(-1). Dry matter kocho yield potentials of 17.1 to 33.9 t ha(-1) yr(-1) were estimated for enset clones. Important yield potential differences existed between clones mainly because of differences in radiation use efficiency that was probably partly associated with viral infection. The average ratio of actual yield:yield potential (0.24) was low mainly because of large losses associated with traditional fermentation techniques, yield reducing cultivation methods such as repetitive transplanting and leaf pruning, presence of diseases, lack of adequate fertilisation and shortage and uneven distribution of rainfall.
|Journal||Annals of Applied Biology|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|
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