Assessment of growth rate and yields of three Napier grass varieties in Central Highlands of Kenya

Citation:
Mwendia SW;, Mwangi DM;, Wahome RG;, Wanyoike M. "Assessment of growth rate and yields of three Napier grass varieties in Central Highlands of Kenya.". 2010.

Abstract:

An evaluation of the performance of Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) cultivars Kakamega-I (ILRI accession No. 16971), Kakamega-II (ILRI accession No. 16978) and Muguga Bana was carried out in the Lower Highland Zone 3 (LH3) at KARI-Muguga South, Central Kenya. Kakamega-I has been shown to be resistant to Napier grass head smut disease while Muguga Bana is susceptible but popular in Central Kenya. The varieties were planted in a Complete Randomised Design (CRD) without application of manure or fertiliser. Dry matter yields (DM), leaf to stem ratio and tiller numbers were recorded for six consecutive harvests. Growth rates were measured during the fourth, fifth and sixth ratoon (regrowths). The varieties produced similar (P > 0.05) number of tillers but differed in the tiller heights and subsequent growth rates. Kakamega-I produced significantly the tallest tillers and had the highest growth rate followed by Kakamega-II and Muguga Bana respectively. Cumulative DM yields (t/ha) for six harvests was highest for Kakamega-I (68.3 t/ha). Leaf to stem ratio was higher for Muguga Bana (4.98) than both Kakamega-I and Kakamega-II, which were similar in this aspect (2.49 and 3.32). The higher dry matter yields in Kakamega-I was attributed to the faster growth rate than the other varieties.

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