Effect of Plant Spacing and Harvesting Age on Plant Characteristics, Yield and Chemical composition of Para grass ( Brachiaria mutica) at Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Mimila Zemene, Yeshambel Checol Mekuriaw, Bimrew Asmare


Natural pasture in Ethiopia is typically low in forage botanical composition, biomass yield nutritive value because of overgrazing and lack of alternative improved forage plants. The field experiment was conducted to determine the effects of plant spacing and harvesting age on agronomic performance and chemical composition of Para grass (Brachiaria mutica) at Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The experiment was a 3×3 factorial layout in a RCBD with three replications giving a total of 27 plots. The between plant spacing were 15, 30 and 45 cm and the harvesting ages were 60, 90 and 120 days. The data collected were morphological characteristics such as plant height(PH), number of tillers per plant (NTPP), leaf length per plant (LLPP), number of roots per plant (NRPP), root length per plant (RLPP), leaf to stem ratio (LSR), number of leaves per plant (NLPP), dry matter yield (DMY) and chemical composition  of the forage. Forage samples were taken for chemical composition analyses . All data were subjected to GLM ANOVA procedures of SAS version 9.0. Results showed that the interaction between plant spacing and harvesting age had a significant (p<0.05) effect on plant characteristics, DMY and chemical composition of Para grass except CP yield (p>0.05). Plant characteristics were significantly (p<0.05) increased as the plant spacing and age of harvesting raised and PH, OM and ADF were increased as maturity of the plant at all plant spacing. DMY and DM content were significantly (p<0.05) increased with narrow plant spacing and advanced maturity. Therefore it could be concluded that both harvesting age and between plant spacing are critical in the forage production parameters.


Chemical composition, Forage yield, Harvesting age, Morphological characteristics, Plant spacing

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