|Livestock Research for Rural Development 27 (2) 2015||Guide for preparation of papers||LRRD Newsletter||
Citation of this paper
Brachiaria hybrid cv. Mulato planting materials are on a high demand by livestock farmers due to their high nutritive value and ability to withstand drastic weather conditions. Data on enterprise budgets on Brachiaria hybrid cv. Mulato indicated that dairy farmers who received Brachiaria hybrid cv. Mulato for multiplication and integrated it into livestock feed had on average established 0.75 acres, sold up to 230 bags of splits of planting materials to other farmers in a year and fetched a net profit of about Uganda US $ 1,360 per acre per annum. Despite this, planting materials are scarce and therefore supply to livestock farmers in Uganda has been a daunting challenge. Previously Brachiaria hybrid cv. Mulato multiplication was based getting Brachiaria splits from established fields and transplanting them in other places, this has been however labor intensive and could not sustain the over whelming demand by livestock farmers. As such a faster and innovative approach of multiplying it under nursery shade was thought of as an alternative method. This has proved to be the best method of increasing the accessibility of Brachiaria hybrid cv. Mulato planting materials to the farmers. This communication therefore gives key highlights to multiplication of Brachiaria under nursery shade conditions and is aimed at enhancing dairy farmers on how to increase planting materials for enhanced livestock production.
Key words: nursery, potting, shade
Brachiariais a perennial grass native to East and Central Africa. A number of studies have shown that the species is of high nutritive value (Frederiksen and Kategile 1980) and therefore has the potential to revolutionize grassland farming and animal production. Studies by Kabirizi et al (2014) showed that dairy farmers who received Brachiaria hybrid cv. Mulato for multiplication and integrated it into livestock feed had on average established 0.75 acres, sold up to 230 bags of splits of planting materials to other farmers in a year and fetched a net profit of about Uganda US $ 1,360 per acre per annum. However, exploitation of Brachiaria hybrid cv. Mulato for livestock productivity enhancement remains a challenge. This is because, the planting materials are scarce which impedes there accessibility by the farming communities. As such, wider adoption of Brachiaria as forage in the farming communities is limited and the positive impact it brings to livestock improvement and productivity is therefore not fully exploited.
In Uganda, availing improved pasture planting materials to smallholder farming communities has been a daunting challenge mostly for the pasture species with very low seed viability like Brachiaria ssp. As such, there multiplication has been mainly through getting Brachiaria stools, cutting it into smaller pieces and planting them in multiplication gardens. At maturity, these are then dug out from the garden and put into sacks for the farmers to multiply at their farms. Despite having worked for quite long in improving pasture production and animal production, this has been quite challenging practice. As there has been slow progress in terms of availing planting materials to the farmers mostly due to the high operational costs in terms labor for opening the multiplication area and its eventual maintenance. Mugerwa et al (2012) stated that efforts aimed at integration of introduced forages into smallholder diary systems need to focus on high yielding forages as well as insuring availability of adequate sources of planting materials. This can only be realized through innovative multiplication path ways. In an attempt to realize this goal, multiplication of Brachiaria splits under nursery was thought of and through this innovative approach, we have managed to raise thousands of seedlings as illustrated in figure 1 and 2 below.
|Photo 1. Potted splits||Photo 2. Watering splits||Photo 3. Sprouted splits|
Top loam soils, cow dung and sand are mixed in ratio of 10:5:3 wheel barrows respectively. The mixture is then potted in polythene bags, Brachiaria cuttings with viable roots and buds are then cut and put in the potted media under nursery shade (one small cutting per pot). These are then watered twice in a day (morning and evening). Sprouting of the cutting starts within 3 weeks and in 10 weeks time they are ready for planting in the main field.
The Authors acknowledge the financial support from East African Agriculture Productivity Project (EAAPP).
Fredericksen J H and Kategile J A 1980 The effect of nitrogen fertilization and time of cutting in first growth in Brachiaria brizantha on yield, crude protein content and in vitro digestibility. Tropical Animal Production 5:136-143
Kabirizi J M, Nanyeenya N W, Zziwa E, Lukwago G, Mugerwa S, Namazzi C, Namagembe A and Ebiyau G 2014 Promoting Brachiaria hybrid cv. Mulato 1 as a fodder and seed crop in smallholder crop-livestock systems in Uganda
Mugerwa S, Kabirizi J M, Njarui D and Mpairwe D 2012 Utilization of introduced forages by smallholder dairy farmers in Uganda. International Journal of Bio sciences Volume 2. Page: 36-45
Received 25 July 2014; Accepted 15 September 2014; Published 4 February 2015
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