Forage production and quality of <i>Urochloa decumbens</i> cultivar ‘Basilisk’ in Okinawa, Japan
Two studies were conducted to assess forage growth and nutritive value of Urochloa decumbens (syn. Brachiaria decumbens) cultivar ‘Basilisk’ in comparison with other grass species grown in Okinawa during 2002–2005 and 2006–2008. Harvests were performed every 40 days from April to October and every 55 days from November to March. In Experiment 1, from 2002 to 2005 total dry matter (DM) yield of ‘Basilisk’ (119.5 t/ha) was significantly higher than that of Digitaria eriantha cultivar ‘Transvala’ (87.4 t/ha; P = 0.01), one of the most popular recommended grass varieties in Okinawa Prefecture. Mean DM digestibility of ‘Basilisk’ was 56.7%, significantly higher than that of other recommended grass varieties (54.5–51.4%). In addition, total digestible DM yield (64.8 t/ha) and crude protein (CP) yield (13.7 t/ha) of ‘Basilisk’ were significantly higher than those of other varieties including ‘Transvala’ (P<0.01). In Experiment 2, total DM yield of ‘Basilisk’ during 2006–2008 was 93.0 t/ha and significantly higher only than that of Urochloa mutica (syn. Brachiaria mutica) (78.6 t/ha; P<0.01), whereas mean DM digestibility (54.8%) was significantly higher only than that of Chloris gayana cultivar ‘Katambora’ (52.8%; P<0.05). Total digestible DM yield (48.8 t/ha) of ‘Basilisk’ was significantly higher only than that of U. mutica (40.3 t/ha; P<0.01) while its total CP yield (10.4 t/ha) was similar to those of other Urochloa cultivars (P>0.05). As a result, in 2016 ‘Basilisk’ was approved to be added to the list of grasses recommended for sowing in Okinawa Prefecture for improving beef production in the area. A suitable supply of seed to allow this cultivar to be sown widely is essential if its potential for improving beef production in the region is to be realized.