The Future Fodder for Feed Safety –

There are months when there is a surplus of forage supply, but the country also faces two periods of shortage; one from November to December and the other from May to June.

Through Fahd Rasul, Mujeeb ur Rehman, Hassan Munir*, Ahsan Rasheed, Sobia Shahzad, Sardar Alam Cheema

This happens because the farmer divides the forage into winter and summer forage groups depending on the suitability of sowing and harvesting. He needs to grow the required forage according to the weather conditions in order to get a better yield. Therefore, in times of scarcity, he must either feed his animals cheap, inferior feed or keep them malnourished. This ultimately leads to the loss of animal health and production.

According to the FAO global comparison, developed countries with 25 percent livestock produce 63 percent milk and 66 percent meat. While only 37 percent milk and 34 percent meat are produced by developing countries (including Pakistan) with 75 percent livestock. As in Pakistan, the daily milk average of a local cow is 8-10 litters per day versus 35-40 litters for an American cow.

All these problems along with the lack of recognition of feed research are the main limiting factors for livestock farming in Pakistan. A steady supply of adequate and nutritious forage is essential to fill this gap and use the livestock sector for economic growth and rural prosperity, as eight million families are involved in livestock farming.

Green fodder is the most important factor for cost-effective animal husbandry. Due to small farms and the ever-changing climate in agriculture, it is assumed that forage crops are only grown for one season and when the season changes, the farmer must be ready to grow new crops. One of the main causes of low productivity in dairy and beef production is the lack of a 365-day forage strategy. Mombasa grass is a perennial and multi-cut plant that encourages this concept. It was introduced in 1993 from the Tanzanian city of Korogwe in Brazil. Mombasa Guinea Grass is a tall non-hybrid grass with a habit similar to Napier Hybrid Grass but is much leafier making it ideal for cutting and carrying. It is a high-yielding green grass that, in multiple cuts, can produce between 10 and 15 tons per acre of dry matter per year, with a crude protein content of 10 to 16 percent. Its name is MOMBASA followed by the name of the Kenyan capital.

Plant description: Mombasa is a grass scientific name panic maximum. Leafy upright grass with a deep root system that can grow over 2m tall. The stem grows to over 0.5 cm in diameter, the leaves are up to 3 cm wide and 100 cm long. Seed head branched open panicle generally 30 to 45 cm long.

Sowing: Sowing is recommended when the day temperature exceeds 30 degrees Celsius and the night temperature exceeds 22 degrees Celsius. Germination is delayed or absent when the temperature is low. The optimum growth temperature is between 30 and 40°C. Sowing usually starts in February in South Punjab and Sindh region and lasts until October in Punjab and Sindh depending on weather, water availability and soil type.

The most recommended sowing method is manual sowing on ridges 50 cm apart. The broadcast approach, on the other hand, is a different way of sowing the harvest. Seeding through nursery transplants is another popular approach these days. Seedlings are ready for transplantation 35 to 45 days after sowing with 3 to 4 leaves. Water seedling beds 24 hours before transplanting to allow the seedling to be easily uprooted and turgid by the time of transplanting. For a Mombasa harvest of one acre, 1kg of seed is recommended.

Mombasa grass root slips Mombasa Grass Nursery

Fertilizer:The amount of fertilizer required is always determined by the soil conditions. However, it is recommended to use 01 sachets of DAP and 01 sachets of Urea during sowing. 01 sachets of Single Super Phosphate and 02 sachets of NP are recommended for soils with high salinity. After the first cut, a sachet of Urea or NP should be sufficient.

Harvest: The 1st harvest is directly related to weather conditions, soil type, water availability, nutrient supply and timing of sowing. Sowing in February takes longer than sowing in April. Temperature plays an important role in vegetative growth. The temperature fluctuations also decrease over the period from February to April. The 1st cut needs to harvest at a height of 0.6 feet and generally 0.6 feet height which is reached in 60 – 70 days of sowing. After the first cut, more cuts will be ready in 35-40 days.

Nutrition:It contains 8.5% Crude Protein (CP), 65.2% Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF) and 28.7% Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF) in concentrations considered sufficient for feed requirements. Total crude protein content is 8% to 10% in peak season and peaks up to 12% in spring season. However, it can be kept in multiple cuts throughout the season by maintaining the best fertigation. When harvest is delayed or overripe for a long period of time, crude protein drops drastically and never exceeds 5%. Long periods of harsh, dry, hot weather also reduce the protein content in the plant and cause poor rumen digestibility. The use of nitrogen is the best way to solve this problem.

DETAILS

ancestry

Clonal selection from Mumbasa

duration (days)

shrub

Forage yield (t/ha/year)

340-360 (7 crops)

morphological characters

Plant height (cm)

210-240

Number of shoots/clumps

40-60

sheet length (cm)

97-110

sheet width (cm)

3.2 – 4.5

leaf to stem ratio

0.73

High quality characters

dry matter (%)

20.2

Crude Protein (%)

7.50

crude fiber (%)

30.3

Phosphorus (%)

0.19

Calcium (%)

0.59

Mombasa against feed

lining

protein content(%)

dry matter (%)

To harvest

green fodder

Mombasa

7.5

20.2

7/ year

320t/ha/year

sorghum

9.86

25.9

6-7/year

192 t/ha/year

Napier hybrid

14

22

7/year

360-400 t/ha/year

alfalfa

23.5

20

12-14/ year

90-130 t/ha/year

Corn

9.8

17.65

1/sowing

40 tons/ha

pearl millet

13.9

18.2

1/sowing

30 tons/ha

Authors : Fahd Rasul, Mujeeb ur Rehman, Hassan Munir*, Ahsan Rasheed, Sobia Shahzad, Sardar Alam Cheema

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