Influence of initial cutting date and cutting frequency on yield and quality of star grass cynodon polystachyus elephant grass pennisetum purpureum and guinea grass panicum maximum

Omaliko, C.P.E.

Grass and Forage Science 35(2): 139-146


ISSN/ISBN: 0142-5242
Accession: 005686476

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Two experiments were conducted to estimate the influence of initial cutting dates in March and April and of cutting frequencies on Guinea grass, elephant grass and star grass productivity. Increasing delay in date of 1st cut in the season resulted in a progressive increase in dry-matter yield. Of the tiller population, 72-81% at any cut were vegetative; this helped to maintain good aftermath yield for each date of 1st cut. Early April cuts gave the highest dry-matter yield and early March the least. Harvesting frequencies affected the sward productivity such that the annual dry matter yield increased with increasing harvesting interval from 6800 kg ha-1 for a 3 wk interval to 13,000 kg ha-1 for a 10 wk interval. The proportion of green leaf in the dry matter dropped from 57.7% at 3 wk intervals to 32.0% at 10 wk intervals. Seasonal effects showed that potential yield was reduced by a short interval between harvests early in the season but not late in the season. Species differences in quality and in the harvesting interval that gave the maximum yields were noted. These results are discussed in relation to management of the sward throughout the growing season.