Effect of Cutting Frequency on Productivity of Napier and Guatemala Grasses in Western Kenya

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Mwakha, E.
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Napier and Guatemala grasses were grown at Kitale in western Kenya for 16 months during which they were subjected to two, four and eight-monthly cutting frequencies. The total leaf and stem dry matter yields and their crude protein contents were determined. The results showed that Napier grass out yielded Guatemala grass in total dry matter production at all the experimental frequencies of cutting. Total dry matter, stem dry matter, proportion of stem in total dry matter and growth height of herbage of both grasses increased with the decrease in cutting frequency. The leaf dry matter, leaf crude protein and stem crude protein contents declined with the reduction in cutting frequency. More frequent cutting favoured maximum production of utilizable dry matter by Napier while less frequent cutting favoured Guatemala grass. The practical implications of the results are discussed and it is suggested that the criteria for selecting the optimum defoliation frequency be based on maximum utilizable dry matter and its availability to stock.
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, 37 (no 3), pp. 206-210