Effect of environmental stress and management on grain and biomass yield of finger millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.)



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Kansas State University


Productivity of grain crops is highly sensitive to changing climates and crop management practices. Response of finger millet [Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.] to high temperature stress, and intensive management practices such as increased seeding rates and fertilizer application are not clearly understood. The objectives of this research were to determine the effects of (a) season-long, and short episodes of high temperature stress on growth and yield traits of finger millet, (b) seeding rates and nitrogen fertilizer application rates on grain and biomass yield, and (c) to evaluate the finger millet minicore collection for high grain and biomass yield. Controlled environment studies were conducted to determine the effects of high temperature stress on physiological, growth and yield traits. Field studies were conducted in Manhattan and Hays (Kansas) and Alupe (Kenya) to determine the effects of seeding and nitrogen fertilizer rates on growth and yield traits. Finger millet minicore collection was evaluated under field conditions in India, for phenology, growth and yield traits. Season long high temperature stress of 36/26 or 38/28°C compared to 32/22°C decreased panicle emergence, number of seeds per panicle, grain yield and harvest index. Finger millet was most sensitive to short episodes (10 d) of high temperature (40/30°C) during booting, panicle emergence and flowering stages, resulting in lower number of seeds, and grain yield. Finger millet responded to the interaction between environmental (locations) and temporal (years) factors. In general, locations with higher rainfall had greater grain and biomass yield than those with low rainfall. There was no influence of seeding rates (3.2 or 6.0 kg ha[superscript]-1) at Hays and Alupe. However, in one of the two years in Manhattan, higher seeding rate of 6.0 kg ha[superscript]-1 increased grain yield compared to 3.2 kg ha[superscript]-1. There was no influence of nitrogen rates (0, 30, 60 or 90 kg ha[superscript]-1) on grain or biomass yield at all three locations. However, higher fertilizer rates had greater percentage lodging. The finger millet minicore collection displayed large ranges for most quantitative traits including days to flowering, plant height, number of fingers panicle[superscript]-1, grain yield, biomass yield, and lodging; and had >60% heritability. Some of the genotypes from the minicore collection have the potential to increase grain and biomass yield and abiotic stress tolerance of finger millet.



Finger millet, High temperature stress, Grain yield, Biomass yield

Graduation Month



Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Agronomy

Major Professor

P.V. Vara Prasad