Sixty years of breeding in Cameroon improved fibre but not seed cotton yield
Experimental Agriculture, 53 (2): p. 202-209
Seed cotton yield in Northern Cameroon has been declining since the 80s despite breeding efforts. In order to evaluate the impact of genetic improvement on this decline, we conducted field experiments in two locations with 10 widely grown cotton cultivars released in Cameroon between 1950 and 2009. The rate of genetic gain (GG) was estimated with a linear regression of the cultivar mean on its year of release (YR). Contrasts between rates of GG observed with different planting dates were estimated and tested. Our results revealed a rate of GG on fibre yield of 3.3 kg ha −1 year −1 due to increased ginning out-turn (3.9% and 6.2% in 60 years in Garoua and Maroua, respectively). There was no GG on leaf area index (LAI), radiation use efficiency (RUE), aerial biomass, harvest index and on seed cotton yield. We concluded that cotton breeding efforts in Cameroon have successfully improved cotton fibre yield but there is still some room for seed cotton yield improvement.