Effect Of Introduced Forage Legumes On Productivity Of Traditional Pasture Enclosures In Semi-Arid Rangelands Of Kenya

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Macharia P.N
Mureithi J.G
Kinyamario J.I
Ekaya W.N
Gachene C.K.K
Thuranira E.G
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This study was carried out to investigate the effect of introduced forage legumes on improvement of the quality and quantity of fodder in traditional pasture enclosures of Maasai livestock keepers in semi-arid rangelands of Kajiado District, Kenya. The forage legumes Glycine, Siratro and Shrubby Stylo were integrated into the natural pastures and their effects on natural pasture productivity studied. Data on dry matter (DM) production was collected at two defoliation heights (15 and 30 cm) and three defoliation intervals (2, 4 and 6 months). The highest DM yield was obtained at the two months defoliation interval at 15 cm height (though there were no significant differences between treatments), and inclusion of Glycine and Siratro into natural pastures resulted in combined DM yield of 3.79 and 3.84 tJha, respectively, which was 40 and 42 %, respectively higher than the DM yield of the natural pasture (2.71 tI ha). Due to slow growth of Stylo as an intercrop, the mixed pasture yielded 2.59 tJha. Stylo as an intercrop needed more than four seasons of growth for it to contribute higher DM yield than the natural pasture. Forage quality detenninations at vegetative, flowering and senescent stages showed that grasses in mixed pastures contained higher crude protein (CP) content and had higher digestibility and lower fibre content than grasses in natural pasture at all stages of growth.
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, 79, p. 161-169