Effect of Fertilizer Application and Variety on Yield of Napier Grass (Pennisetum purpureum) at Melokoza and Basketo Special Districts, Southern Ethiopia
In tropical countries, the demand for meat and milk production has been increasing at an alarming rate, which the production, in turn, is requiring sufficient energy and protein feed supply. Four Napier grass varieties (ILRI_16815, ILRI_16902, ILRI_16913, ILRI_15743) and four nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur (NPS) fertilizer (0, 12.5, 25, 50 kg ha-1 N:P:S with a rate of 19% N:37% P2O5:7% S) level were laid out in split-plot design at Basketo and Melokoza districts during 2018-2019 cropping seasons to evaluate agronomic and forage biomass yield performance. Data were collected for three consecutive harvestings each year to evaluate yield and agronomic parameters. NPS fertilizer application had no significant variation on growth and yield of Napier grass. In terms of plant height, ILRI_15743 is found to be a shorter variety that had a wider circumference covering the ground, better leaf to stem ratio and a higher number of tillers per plant. The plant height was varied for NPS fertilizer application and the higher plant was at 12.5 kg ha-1(72.2 cm) level. ILRI_16815 demonstrated as the longest 84.6 cm variety among others in the test which encompass higher dry matter yield. Dry matter yields highly correlated (P<0.001) with leaf length, leaf number per plant and green forage yield which have less association with circumference, leaf width and leaf to stem ratio. There was better yield recorded at Melokoza than Basketo and applying 12.5 kg ha-1 NPS fertilizer is economical in Napier grass production. Therefore, ILRI_16815 could be recommended with 12.5 kg ha-1 NPS fertilizer at Melokoza, Basketo and similar agro-ecology to have economical Napier grass yield.
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