Forage growth, yield and quality responses of Napier hybrid grass cultivars to three cutting intervals in the Himalayan foothills
A 3 x 3 factorial study was conducted in the southern foothills of Bhutan to compare 3 cultivars of Napier hybrid grass (Pennisetum purpureum x P. glaucum: Pakchong-1, CO-3 and Giant Napier), at 3 cutting intervals (40, 60 and 80 days), in terms of forage growth, dry matter (DM) yield and crude protein (CP) concentration. The effects of cultivar x cutting interval were significant only on tiller number per plant and leaf:stem ratio (LSR). CO-3 consistently produced the highest tiller number per plant, leaves per plant and LSR, while Pakchong-1 produced the lowest. Pakchong-1 plants were taller, had bigger tillers and basal circumference and higher stem DM production than CO-3 and Giant. Leaf CP for all cultivars was about 17%, while stem CP concentration was lower for Pakchong-1 than for the other cultivars (3.6 vs. 5.3%, P<0.05). While 40-day cutting intervals produced high quality forage, yields suffered marked-ly and the best compromise between yield and quality of forage seemed to occur with 60-day cutting intervals. Pakchong-1 seems to have no marked advantages over CO-3 and Giant for livestock feed, and feeding studies would verify this. Its higher stem DM yields may be advantageous for biogas production and this aspect should be investigated.
Keywords: Bhutan, CO-3, crude protein , dry matter, Giant Napier, Pakchong-1.DOI: 10.17138/TGFT(3)142-150