Theme 2: Forage--Oral Sessions

Description

Livestock production in sub humid region of Kenya is constrained by inadequate and low quality pasture. A study was conducted to evaluate growth and productivity of eight improved Urochloa grass cultivars in lower midlands, upper midlands and lower highlands agro-ecological zones (AEZ) in Eldoret, Kitale and Alupe respectively, western Kenya. The grass cultivars were; Urochloa brizantha cvs. Marandu, Xaraes, Piata, and MG-4, U. decumbens, cv. Basilisk, U. humidicola cvs. Humidicola and Llanero and Urochloa hybrid cv. Mulato II. Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) and Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum cv. Kakamega 1) were included as controls. At establishment stage, growth parameters (height, cover and spread) and dry matter yield (DMY) were monitored at 14 weeks after seedling emergence (WAE) and standardization cut conducted to stimulate uniform plant growth. Thereafter (production stage), the plants were repeatedly harvested for DMY determination at 6, 8 and 12 weeks intervals. The growth parameters and DMY varied significantly (p < 0.05) among the cultivars in all the AEZ in all the measurement dates. Napier grass recorded the highest mean height (60 to 120 cm) at the end of establishment period while among Urochloa cultivars, MG-4, Basilisk and Xaraes recorded the highest mean height and plot cover across all AEZs. All Urochloa cultivars gave significantly (p < 0.05) lower DMY than Napier grass in Kitale and Alupe while Basilisk and Xaraes recorded similar DMY to Napier grass in Eldoret. In Eldoret, Xaraes recorded the highest DMY (2.54 t ha-1) while in Kitale and Alupe the highest DMY was recorded in MG-4 (3.7 t ha-1) and Basilisk (4.72 t ha-1), respectively. Increasing cutting interval increased DMY but reduced nutritive value of Urochloa cultivars in Kitale. Basilisk, MG-4, Xaraes and Piata showed potential to establish and grow well across AEZs and to maximize production and nutritive value cutting at 8 weeks interval is recommended.

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Growth and Yield Evaluation of Urochloa Grass Cultivars in Sub-Humid Region of Kenya

Livestock production in sub humid region of Kenya is constrained by inadequate and low quality pasture. A study was conducted to evaluate growth and productivity of eight improved Urochloa grass cultivars in lower midlands, upper midlands and lower highlands agro-ecological zones (AEZ) in Eldoret, Kitale and Alupe respectively, western Kenya. The grass cultivars were; Urochloa brizantha cvs. Marandu, Xaraes, Piata, and MG-4, U. decumbens, cv. Basilisk, U. humidicola cvs. Humidicola and Llanero and Urochloa hybrid cv. Mulato II. Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) and Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum cv. Kakamega 1) were included as controls. At establishment stage, growth parameters (height, cover and spread) and dry matter yield (DMY) were monitored at 14 weeks after seedling emergence (WAE) and standardization cut conducted to stimulate uniform plant growth. Thereafter (production stage), the plants were repeatedly harvested for DMY determination at 6, 8 and 12 weeks intervals. The growth parameters and DMY varied significantly (p < 0.05) among the cultivars in all the AEZ in all the measurement dates. Napier grass recorded the highest mean height (60 to 120 cm) at the end of establishment period while among Urochloa cultivars, MG-4, Basilisk and Xaraes recorded the highest mean height and plot cover across all AEZs. All Urochloa cultivars gave significantly (p < 0.05) lower DMY than Napier grass in Kitale and Alupe while Basilisk and Xaraes recorded similar DMY to Napier grass in Eldoret. In Eldoret, Xaraes recorded the highest DMY (2.54 t ha-1) while in Kitale and Alupe the highest DMY was recorded in MG-4 (3.7 t ha-1) and Basilisk (4.72 t ha-1), respectively. Increasing cutting interval increased DMY but reduced nutritive value of Urochloa cultivars in Kitale. Basilisk, MG-4, Xaraes and Piata showed potential to establish and grow well across AEZs and to maximize production and nutritive value cutting at 8 weeks interval is recommended.