Agronomic evaluation of 10 cultivated grasses in semi-arid Mozambique
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Grasses were evaluated on well-drained, infertile soils during 4 years in which the average annual rainfall was 582mm. Cenchrus ciliaris cvv. Gayndah and Biloela, Chloris gayana cv. Katambora, Cynodon dactylon cvv. Tifton 85 and Couch, Panicum coloratum cv. Bambatsi, Andropogon gayanus cv. Gamba, Eragrostis curvula, Panicum maximum and Urochloa mosambicensis were seeded in plots and allowed to establish for one rainy season. A 300 kg/ha N:P:K (15:30:15) fertilisation, split into 2 biannual applications, and an unfertilised control were imposed on subplots. Bi-monthly (2M) and biannual (6M) harvests were imposed on sub-subplots and seasonal(May-October for dry season; November-April for rainy season) totals were calculated. Dry matter (DM) production and crude protein (CP; unreplicated) percentages were determined. Katambora, Gayndah and Biloela consistently equalled or outproduced other entries for all 3 years and both harvest regimes. There were no differences (P>0.05) in DM production between the 2M and the 6M intervals for either season but CP was higher with the 2M harvest interval. Fertiliser application did not affect dry season results but approached significance (P = 0.06) by increasing DM yields 27% and increased CP by an average 12% in the rainy season.
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