Maize hybrid stability in environments under water restriction using mixed models and factor analysis.
In several crops, the water deficit is perhaps the main limiting factor in the search for high yields. The objective of this study was to evaluate the phenotypic stability of maize hybrids in environments with and without water restriction using the analytical factor (AF) approach. We evaluated 171 maize hybrids in 14 environments, divided into environments with (A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, and A7) and without (A8, A9, A10, A11, A12, A13, and A14) water restriction, over a period of 7 years. Each year, 36 hybrids were evaluated. A square lattice design (6 x 6) was used, with common treatments between years. The characteristics of grain yield (GY), male flowering (MF) and female flowering (FF), plant height (PH), and ear height (EH) were evaluated. Phenotypic adaptability and stability of the hybrids were also verified. Hybrids G66, G99, G86, and G26 were the most stable and showed potential for use in environments with and without water restriction. The AF models showed to be useful for evaluating hybrids over many years, allowing selection of better hybrids with adaptability, specific and general stability, and correlation of hybrids with their production components, in addition to allowing identification of mega-environments that permit stability in the response of the adapted hybrids.