African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6576

Full Length Research Paper

Harvest frequency effect on plant height, grass tiller production, plant cover and percentage dry matter production of some forage grasses and legumes in the derived savannah, Nigeria

  C. C. Onyeonagu* and J. E. Asiegbu
  Department of Crop Science University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Published: 28 February 2013

Abstract

 

Four legumes, Lablab purpureus, Stylosanthes hamata, Centrosema pascuorum and Stylosanthes guyanensis and 4 grasses, Sorghum almum, Panicum maximum, Chloris gayana and Andropogon gayanuswere investigated in a 2-year study at Nsukka, derived savannah, Nigeria. The response of these species to cutting management (4 and 8-weekly intervals) was evaluated. Increasing the interval between harvests increased (P<0.05) plant height and percentage dry matter production in the grass and legume species. Cutting treatment did not influence the extent of legume cover; however, the extent of grass cover was increased (P<0.05) by 30% when the interval between harvests was increased from 4 to 8 weeks. Weed cover in the grass plots was depressed (P<0.05) by 21% with increased interval of cut from 4 to 8 weeks. The tallest (P<0.05) plants among the legumes were obtained in S. guianensis when cutting was done at the interval of 8 weeks. Harvesting the grasses at the interval of 8 weeks produced the tallest plants in A. gayanusin 2007. The highest (P<0.05) tiller number per meter square was produced in both years when A. gayanuswas harvested at 4-weekly interval. S. guyanensis and S. hamata suppressed (P<0.05) weed growth more than L. purpureus or C. pascuorum. Percentage dry matter production was lower (P<0.05) in L. purpureuscompared with the other legumes. Grass cover remained relatively high with P. maximum and A. gayanus.

 

Key words: Cutting frequency, forage species, seasonal yield, dry matter content.