Kenya Agriculture-Grass Leys and Grassland Plants

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Grassland Research Station, Kitale,
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Although permanent grassland is of primary importance in Kenya, reliance should largely be placed on vigorous mixed leys of grasses and legumes for the maintenance of fertility on arable land and for much of the high quality feed which is necessary for productive livestock in the mixed farming areas. Temporary leys offer the greatest scope for planned blending and utilization of the most suitable plants, but their establishment and management calls for considerable skill. It is important to distinguish between two main types of temporary ley, as the species and management for each will differ to some extent. They are, firstly, the ordinary "general purpose" farm leys which, apart from permanent pastures, provide the bulk of grazing and some hay or silage during the main rainy season and in the early part of the dry weather. Secondly, "late season" or "dry season" leys which provide a reserve of standing forage, as well as continuing to make relatively good growth, for grazing or cutting during the drier months; and which, under certain conditions, may also give an early bite at the start of the wet weather. The species for late season leys are selected for their ability to withstand drought and to maintain a fair level of quality if left as a standing reserve. Elephant grass, Sudan grass, and Star grass are already being used successfully for this purpose on a limited scale, and it is probable that other grasses such as Guinea, giant setaria, molasses grass, and perhaps Kentucky fescue for the high altitudes will also be satisfactory.
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, XXIV (No. 4), p. 223-236