Theme 2: Forage--Oral Sessions

Description

Low adoption of superior agricultural technologies has been attributed to insufficient attention given to farmers’ priorities and perceptions while developing technologies. There is therefore a need to involve farmers in development of new forage technologies in order to increase adoption. Participatory variety selection (PVS) was conducted on eight Urochloa grass cultivars in the coastal lowlands, eastern midlands, central highlands and northwestern highlands of Kenya to select cultivars that are more adaptable in each region. The eight Urochloa cultivars; U. brizantha cvs. Marandu, Xaraes, Piatã, MG4, U. decumbens cv. Basilisk, U. humidicola cvs. Llanero and Humidicola, and U. hybrid cv. Mulato II were evaluated against cultivated local grasses; Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana cv. KATR3) and Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum cv. Kakamega 1). In each region, farmers were engaged in development of selection criteria through focus group discussions. For each criterion, farmers’ scored on individual grass cultivars using a Likert scale of 1 to 4 with higher scores indicating high cultivar preference. Farmers considered 12 to17 plant attributes in the selection of the most suitable forages for planting. The attributes included plant height, colour, spread, biomass among others. MG4 was the most preferred Urochloa cultivar in eastern midlands, central and northwestern highlands while Mulato II was most preferred in coastal lowlands. The study concluded that, the selected Urochloa cultivars met the farmers’ needs and were advanced for on-farm testing and evaluation for livestock benefits.

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Participatory Evaluation and Selection of Improved Urochloa Grass Cultivars in Kenya

Low adoption of superior agricultural technologies has been attributed to insufficient attention given to farmers’ priorities and perceptions while developing technologies. There is therefore a need to involve farmers in development of new forage technologies in order to increase adoption. Participatory variety selection (PVS) was conducted on eight Urochloa grass cultivars in the coastal lowlands, eastern midlands, central highlands and northwestern highlands of Kenya to select cultivars that are more adaptable in each region. The eight Urochloa cultivars; U. brizantha cvs. Marandu, Xaraes, Piatã, MG4, U. decumbens cv. Basilisk, U. humidicola cvs. Llanero and Humidicola, and U. hybrid cv. Mulato II were evaluated against cultivated local grasses; Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana cv. KATR3) and Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum cv. Kakamega 1). In each region, farmers were engaged in development of selection criteria through focus group discussions. For each criterion, farmers’ scored on individual grass cultivars using a Likert scale of 1 to 4 with higher scores indicating high cultivar preference. Farmers considered 12 to17 plant attributes in the selection of the most suitable forages for planting. The attributes included plant height, colour, spread, biomass among others. MG4 was the most preferred Urochloa cultivar in eastern midlands, central and northwestern highlands while Mulato II was most preferred in coastal lowlands. The study concluded that, the selected Urochloa cultivars met the farmers’ needs and were advanced for on-farm testing and evaluation for livestock benefits.