Giant Panicums For Cut-And-Carry Feeding Systems For Dairy Cattle In Semi-Arid Kenya PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 03 August 2011 07:54
Njarui D.M.G.1, Gatheru M.1; Mwang D. M; 2 and Keya G. A.2

1KARI-Katumani Research Centre, P.O. Box 340 – 90100, Machakos, Kenya

2KARI Headquarters, P.O. Box 57811 - 00200, Nairobi, Kenya

* Corresponding authors: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Inadequate nutrition is a major constraint that impact negatively on the growth and viability of the dairy farming in semi-arid of eastern Kenya. Nineteen giant panicum ecotypes one recommended panicum variety were evaluated for dry matter yield and nutritive quality at 3 sites; Kambi ya Mawe (KYM), Katumani and Ithookwe within the semi-arid region of eastern Kenya. Root splits were established in November 2008 in plots of 4 m x 4 m, replicated 3 times. After the establishment phase, commencing in April 2009, plants were monitored for canopy cover, tillers numbers and dry matter yield every 8 weeks for a period of two years. Canopy cover and tiller numbers increased in the second year for all the ecotypes across all the sites. None of the ecotype showed a consistent a superior canopy cover and tiller numbers over the others across all the sites. Dry matter yield increased in the second year in all the ecotypes at KYM and Katumani but at Ithookwe dry matter yield of ecotypes No. 25, 93 and 106 declined slightly in the second year. There was little difference in nutritive value between ecotypes, with significance (p<0.05) difference recorded only in acid detergent fibre content (ADF) and digestibility. Ecotypes No. 15 contained the lowest ADF while ecotype 19 was most digestible at Katumani. At KYM ecotype No. 105 had the lowest ADF while ecotype 100 was most digestible. There is need to continue monitoring perforamce of these panicum to establish their persistence over time.



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