African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6574

Full Length Research Paper

Effects of cutting frequency and nitrogen fertilizer application on yield, proportion of crop fractions and leaf to stem ratio in guinea grass (Panicum maximum) pasture

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

  •  Accepted: 06 February 2012
  •  Published: 05 June 2012

Abstract

In a sandy loam soil at Nsukka, the effects of fertilizer-N application and cutting management on the yield and proportions of crop fractions of Panicum maximum sown pasture were investigated in 2001 through 2004. The experiment was a 4 × 4 factorial laid out in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Treatments comprised four levels of nitrogen of 0, 150, 300 and 450 kg N ha-1 and four harvesting frequencies of 3-, 6-, 9- and 12-weekly intervals, resulting in sixteen treatment combinations per block. Increase in cutting interval and incremental application of N reduced the proportion of leaf to stem in the total grass dry matter yield. The proportion of inflorescence increased significantly (P < 0.05) with increase in interval between cuts in all the years. Nitrogen treatment increased significantly (P < 0.05) the proportion of inflorescence in 2002 and 2004 compared with the control. Leaf blade yield was significantly (P < 0.05) higher where N application at the 300 kg N ha-1 was combined with cutting at 6- and 12-weekly intervals in 2003 and 2004, respectively compared with when the 3-weekly interval of cut was combined with 0 kg N ha-1. Inflorescence dry matter was significantly (P < 0.05) higher where 12-weekly cutting interval was combined with 300 kg N ha-1 in 2004, compared with the 3-weekly interval of cuts at any N rate. On the whole, herbage dry matter yield was highest with 12-weekly cutting interval and with the higher N rates.

 

Key wordsPanicum maximum, fertilizer N, cutting interval, dry matter yield, leaf to stem ratio, inflorescence, crop fractions.