TROPICAL FORAGES MULATO II GRASS (BRACHIARIA HYBRID, CIAT 36087) AND FORAGE SORGHUM (SORGHUM BICOLOR) FOR SILAGE CONSERVATION AND SHEEP PRODUCTION IN ST. KITTS AND NEVIS

Poor nutrition is a major factor limiting the productivity of small ruminants in St. Kitts and Nevis as well as in the wider Caribbean region. Inadequate quantity and quality of natural pastures during the dry season is a major constraint limiting the local supply of sheep and goat meat. The objectives of this study were the establishment of droughttolerant, high-yielding crops capable of good quality forage that could also be preserved as silage for year-round feeding of small ruminants. Two hectares of Mulato II grass (Brachiaria hybrid CIAT 36087) were planted in the dry season during February 2012, with a re-seeded section during April 2012. Forage yield after 12 weeks of successful establishment was 4,783 kg of dry matter (DM) per ha. In July the Mulato grass was harvested and conserved as silage in 153 plastic bags of 20 kg and 550 silage bags of 11 kg, for a total yield of 10,317 kg fresh ensiled material per ha. During the wet season after 3.5 weeks of re-growth, the Mulato grass produced 10,465 kg DM/ha, 2.2 times more forage compared to the dry season. For the forage sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), two cycles of Great Scott brown mid-rib were established and harvested: one in the dry season and the other in the wet season, March to May 2012 and November to January 2013, respectively. During the dry season the forage sorghum produced 1,870 kg DM/ ha with 81-day of growth, whereas in the rainy season, the forage sorghum produced 1.8 times higher, 3,429 kg DM/ha, with 53-day of growth. Successful establishment in the dry season and forage production during both the dry and wet season proved that Mulato grass and forage sorghum are valid forage options for small ruminant production under the Caribbean weather conditions, with the potential to increase farmers' income and provide year-round meat protein sources for these communities.


Issue Date:
2013
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/253503
Total Pages:
14




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-29

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