Dereje Andualem, Melaku Hundessa


Background: Gedeo agroforestry is characterized as the integration of trees, crops and livestock on the same unit of land. Land scarcity is a common characteristic in the Gedeo agroforestry system.  Hence integrating forage crops with the agroforestry system is one of the options to alleviate feed scarcity in the area. Objectives: To evaluate the biomass yield and nutritional value of Guatemala grass harvested at three stages of maturity: Early (120days), Mid (150days) and Late (180 days) cultivated at three different altitudes (high, medium and low). Methodology: A randomized complete block design with three replications was employed. Morphological parameters and chemical composition were measured at each stage of maturity and altitude. Result:  The results showed that the number of leaves per plant (NL), plant height (PH), leaf length (LL) and dry matter yield (DMY) exhibited (p<0.05) an increasing trend as harvesting days were delayed. Contrarily the number of tillers (NT) showed (p<0.05) decreasing trend as harvesting dates advanced. The highest (p<0.05) CP (12.6±0.25%DM) was recorded at 120 days. The highest (p<0.05) NDF (61.27±0.07%DM) and ADF (42.3±0.91%DM) were recorded at 180 days of harvesting. The highest (p<0.05) IVDMD (56.7±1.97%) was recorded at 120 days of harvesting, whereas the least (p<0.05) (48.0±2.06) was at 180 days of harvesting. Generally, as the harvesting date advanced, CP and IVDMD showed a decreasing trend, whereas the fiber content (ADF, NDF and ADL) showed an increasing trend. Implication: Based on the morphological characteristics and dry matter yield, the best harvesting stage of Guatemala grass was at the late (180days) stage of maturity. On the other hand, considering the chemical composition and IVDMD, the best harvest stage was at the early (120days) stage of maturity. Conclusion: Cutting Guatemala grass at the proper growth stage is crucial for forage management.  However, to fully utilize the potential of Guatemala grass, further studies on live animal experiments should be carried out.


Altitudes; Chemical composition; Days of harvesting; Morphological characteristics

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