Theme 2: Forage--Oral Sessions

Description

There is increasing demand for high yielding and nutritious forages to meet the growing dairy farming in semi-arid Kenya. The productivity and nutritive value of seven Urochloa grass cultivars (Urochloa decumbens cv. Basilisk, U. brizantha cvs. Marandu, MG4, Piatá and Xaraes, U. humidicola cv. Llanero and U. hybrid cv. Mulato II) were evaluated in two diverse semi-arid environments, Katumani and Ithookwe in Kenya. At Katumani, the dry matter (DM) yield (5000 - 7500 kg/ha) was highest during the first harvest during the long rains (LR) 2014 season. Dry matter yield declined progressively with season and in the third season (LR 2015) only Xaraes achieved over 2000 kg/ha. All Urochloa cultivars died and no yield was recorded after the third harvesting season (LR 2015) due to prolonged dry season. At Ithookwe, all plants survived during the period of evaluation. Generally the DM yield was highest (4200 – 9200 kg/ha) in the second harvesting season during short rains (SR) 2014 with Llanero having the highest yield and Mulato II the lowest. Significant differences (P < 0.05) in forage quality was recorded in calcium, phosphorus, ash, neutral detergent fibres (NDF) and lignin content. However, none of the cultivars consistently contained more than the other cultivars in all the forage quality parameters analysed. The cv. Xaraes had the highest calcium content and Marandu had the lowest while MG-4 contained the highest phosphorus and Basilisk the lowest. Mulato II contained the highest crude protein and lowest NDF. The study revealed that Urochloa could increase forage resources in the semi-arid regions of Kenya where annual rainfall exceed 700 mm without prolonged dry season.

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Productivity and Nutritive Value of Urochloa Grass Cultivars in Semi-Arid Tropical Kenya

There is increasing demand for high yielding and nutritious forages to meet the growing dairy farming in semi-arid Kenya. The productivity and nutritive value of seven Urochloa grass cultivars (Urochloa decumbens cv. Basilisk, U. brizantha cvs. Marandu, MG4, Piatá and Xaraes, U. humidicola cv. Llanero and U. hybrid cv. Mulato II) were evaluated in two diverse semi-arid environments, Katumani and Ithookwe in Kenya. At Katumani, the dry matter (DM) yield (5000 - 7500 kg/ha) was highest during the first harvest during the long rains (LR) 2014 season. Dry matter yield declined progressively with season and in the third season (LR 2015) only Xaraes achieved over 2000 kg/ha. All Urochloa cultivars died and no yield was recorded after the third harvesting season (LR 2015) due to prolonged dry season. At Ithookwe, all plants survived during the period of evaluation. Generally the DM yield was highest (4200 – 9200 kg/ha) in the second harvesting season during short rains (SR) 2014 with Llanero having the highest yield and Mulato II the lowest. Significant differences (P < 0.05) in forage quality was recorded in calcium, phosphorus, ash, neutral detergent fibres (NDF) and lignin content. However, none of the cultivars consistently contained more than the other cultivars in all the forage quality parameters analysed. The cv. Xaraes had the highest calcium content and Marandu had the lowest while MG-4 contained the highest phosphorus and Basilisk the lowest. Mulato II contained the highest crude protein and lowest NDF. The study revealed that Urochloa could increase forage resources in the semi-arid regions of Kenya where annual rainfall exceed 700 mm without prolonged dry season.