Yield Dynamics and Nutrient Quality of Napier Grass (Pennisetum purpureum) Varieties under Consecutive Harvests
Negative feed balance in terms of dry matter and forage quality has been affecting animal production in Ethiopian livestock system. Yield dynamics and forage quality assessment of ten Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumach.) genotypes to assess the yield and nutritional quality of the grass was conducted in the field of Chano Mille Research substation from September 2018 to November 2019. The experiment was laid out in randomized complete block design with three replications. All growth parameters showed significant (P<0.01) variation among genotypes that were contributing either to yield or quality. Depending on the weather condition of growing months, dry matter yield was varied among genotypes and harvesting months significantly (P<0.01). Dry matter yield varied from 4.87 to 17.35 t/ha for weather variation in growing months and from 9.57 to 18.4 t/ha for genotype variation. Leaf to stem ratio was not varied significantly among genotypes. Stem and leaf quality variation among genotypes for calcium, phosphorus and crude protein was significant while not for neutral and acid detergent fibers. Zehone_02 and ILRI_16835 genotypes could be of optimum dry matter yield and quality to be used as a feed option in a study area and similar agro-ecological zones. Assessing silage and hay quality and animal preference warranted with the production of the crop under irrigated condition.
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