Maize yields in West Timor average around 2 t/ha, but have the potential to reach more than 4 t/ha with improved varieties, agronomy and nutrition. This paper explores the agronomic and physical characteristics of West Timor's landrace maize and production systems to determine the best approach for improving maize production and yield in West Timor. The research trials five maize varieties—three West Timor landrace populations and two open pollinated varieties—and grows them in the villages of Benlutu and Mnelalete in East Nusa Tenggara. The study used a spilt plot experimental design with three replications. The findings demonstrated wider variability in yield and agronomic performance of landrace maize with regard to seedling emergence, plant and ear height compared to certified improved open pollinated varieties. This crop-stand variability is probably due to low seed viability resulting from poor storage conditions, variable seasonal climatic conditions and/or high genetic variability within the landrace populations. The authors affirm that the impact of genetic variability and the enhancement of agronomic management of landrace maize will be investigated in future research.

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