Abstract: Finger millet is one of the potential cereal crops that can contribute to the efforts of realization of food security in the Sub-Saharan Africa. However, scientific information available with regards to improving soil phosphorus supply and identification of P efficient varieties for the crops potential yield is limited. In order to investigate the effects of P levels on yield components and grain yield On-station field experiments were conducted in two sites of western Kenya during the long and short rain seasons of 2015. The experiment was laid out in a Randomized Complete Block Design in factorial arrangement with four levels of P (0, 12.5, 25 and 37.5 kg P2O5 ha-1 and three finger millet varieties (U-15, P-224 and a local check-Ikhulule) and the treatments replicated three times. The increase of phosphorus levels significantly (P≤0.05) increased the grain yield over the control up to 25 kg P2O5 ha-1 during the long rain seasons and 25 kg P2O5 ha-1 during the short rain seasons in both sites. Interactions at P≤0.05were revealed on the grain yield where improved variety P-224 at 25 kg P2O5 ha-1 produced the highest grain yield of 4.74 t.ha-1 in Alupe and 4.77 t.ha-1 in Kakamega and the consistent results suggest that the combination is highly recommended. Therefore the use of judicious and proper rates of P fertilizers can markedly increase the grain yield of finger millet in western Kenya.
Fig.: The influence of variety and phosphorus fertilizer on the grain yield of finger millet in Alupe during the long (A) and short (B) rain seasons.