Evaluation of Desho (Pennisetum pedicellatum) Grass Varieties for Dry Matter Yield and Chemical Composition under Irrigation in two Districts of South Omo Zone, Southwestern Ethiopia
Background: Productivity and reproductive performances of livestock in Ethiopia is low mainly due to scarcity and quality of feed. The Desho grass is indigenous to Ethiopia and belongs to the family Poaceae and has high biomass production potential that could be used to tackle the problem of scarcity and quality of feed.
Objectives: This study was initiated to evaluate dry matter yield and chemical composition of four Desho grass varieties grown in irrigated lowland of Dassench and Hamer districts of South Omo Zone in southwestern Ethiopia.
Material and Methods: The Sermemiret Kebele from Dassench District and Eribore Kebele from Hamer district were selected for a participatory on-farm experimental trial with active involvements of district pastoral office experts and Kebele development agents. Four Desho grass varieties, namely, Areka-DZF#590, Kulumisa-DZF#590, Kindokisha-DZF#591 and Areka local were evaluated in a randomized complete block design with three replications per variety. Data on dry matter yield (DMY), cutting height, number of tillers per plant (NTPP) and leaf to stem ratio (LTSR) were analyzed using the Generalized Linear Model (GLM) procedures of SAS.
Results: The highest (P < 0.05) dry matter yield (35.09 t ha-1) and Crude protein (CP) (129.50g kg-1, DM) were recorded for Areka-DZF#590 whereas the lowest dry matter yield (16.96 t ha-1) and CP (90.60g kg-1, DM) were obtained from Areka local check.
Conclusion and Implication: We conclude that Areka-DZF#590 Desho grass variety was found to be the highest in dry matter and crude protein production. Pastoralists, agro-pastoralists, and farmers in the area could enhance feed availability for increased livestock production.
detergent fiber; Crude protein; Cutting height; Neutral detergent fiber; Number of tillers per plant