Track 1-03

Description

Southern Kyushu is well suited to the cultivation of tropical grasses due to its warm climate, history of herbage production, and extensive areas of abandoned arable land. In 1996, a C4-tropical dwarf variety of a late-heading (DL) napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumach) was introduced from the USA into southern Kyushu via Thailand. Since 2004, DL napiergrass has been evaluated for its production potential, overwintering ability, and suitability for grazing. In Miyazaki, napiergrass exhibits superior sustainability, persisting for more than 5 years without annual renovation. The species shows excellent overwintering ability in coastal areas and is resilient to pathogens and insects. Evaluation at several sites in southern Kyushu revealed that DL napiergrass required minimum winter temperatures to be above –6.2°C to persist over winter. Cultivation of this grass has been successfully extended to more than 10 sites, including isolated islands around Kyushu and at several of these sites livestock farms are now using DL napiergrass. Temperate Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) can be successfully established in the inter-row to increase biomass in spring and is well utilized by grazing beef cattle. However, the transplantation of DL napiergrass requires the use of nursery plants for vegetative propagation, and this has been efficiently developed using multi-celled tray beds. DL napiergrass cannot survive the winters of central and northern Japan, however as the species produces 5–18 T DM/ha/yr of highly palatable and good quality herbage, there is potential to increase its use as an annual pasture in these areas.

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Adaptability and Extension Activity of Dwarf Napiergrass in Southern Kyushu and Elsewhere since Its Introduction to Japan 15 Years Ago

Southern Kyushu is well suited to the cultivation of tropical grasses due to its warm climate, history of herbage production, and extensive areas of abandoned arable land. In 1996, a C4-tropical dwarf variety of a late-heading (DL) napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumach) was introduced from the USA into southern Kyushu via Thailand. Since 2004, DL napiergrass has been evaluated for its production potential, overwintering ability, and suitability for grazing. In Miyazaki, napiergrass exhibits superior sustainability, persisting for more than 5 years without annual renovation. The species shows excellent overwintering ability in coastal areas and is resilient to pathogens and insects. Evaluation at several sites in southern Kyushu revealed that DL napiergrass required minimum winter temperatures to be above –6.2°C to persist over winter. Cultivation of this grass has been successfully extended to more than 10 sites, including isolated islands around Kyushu and at several of these sites livestock farms are now using DL napiergrass. Temperate Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) can be successfully established in the inter-row to increase biomass in spring and is well utilized by grazing beef cattle. However, the transplantation of DL napiergrass requires the use of nursery plants for vegetative propagation, and this has been efficiently developed using multi-celled tray beds. DL napiergrass cannot survive the winters of central and northern Japan, however as the species produces 5–18 T DM/ha/yr of highly palatable and good quality herbage, there is potential to increase its use as an annual pasture in these areas.