Animal production in three Urochloa decumbens-legume pastures in the Eastern Plains of Colombia

Alvaro Rincón Castillo, Mayra Villalobos


In a loamy clay soil of the Colombian Altillanura, animal production of the legumes Centrosema molle accession CIAT 15160, C. macrocarpum accession CIAT 15799 and Grona heterocarpa subsp. ovalifolia (syn. Desmodium ovalifolium) cv. Maquenque, in association with Urochloa decumbens (syn. Brachiaria decumbens) cv. Decumbens, was evaluated under rotational grazing with zebu Brahman steers. The experiment was established in a native savanna area at the Carimagua Research Center of Agrosavia, in a randomized complete block design with three replications. During three years of grazing, C. molle stood out over the other legumes, due to its good forage production and ability to associate and persist with the grass, reaching 40% in the botanical composition in the first year and 24% in the third year. The highest animal liveweight (LW) gains were achieved with this legume with, on average, 760 g/animal/day in the rainy season and 500 g/animal/day in the dry season. With an average stocking rate equivalent to 800 kg LW/ha, mean annual hectare productivity of the pasture with C. molle reached 600 kg LW compared with an average of about 380 kg/ha/year obtained in the other associations and in the grass-only pasture. It is concluded that C. molle CIAT 15160 is a promising pasture legume for the region and confirming its productivity and persistence at farm level and in association with other grasses seems warranted.



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