Effect of different levels of Irrigation on the Growth and Yield of Rhodes Grass (Chloris gayana L. Kunth.) under the Agro-Climatic Conditions of Multan, Pakistan

Author's: Imran Arshad, Nazeer Hussain Shah, Clea Anne E. Vallejera

Corresponding Author: Imran Arshad

Corresponding Author Email: engr_imran1985@yahoo.com

Article Type: Research Article

Published Online: Feb. 28, 2019

Pages: 13-21

Views: 245

Downloads: 0

Abstract:

In a replicated field trial the effect of different levels of irrigation viz. (I1 = 5 days, I2 = 10 days, I3 = 15 days, I4 = 20 days, and I5= 25 days) on a different Rhodes grass varieties, was investigated on a sandy clay loam soil during the year (2017 – 2018) in available agro-ecological conditions of Dogar Agricultural Farms in Multan, Punjab – Pakistan. The results showed that the treatment I2 (irrigation interval 10 days) gives the overall higher yielding results for all the economic parameters and Fine cut, was the most suitable variety for this treatment which produced highest (7.09 ton/ha/cut) dry fodder yield per hectare per cut. The maximum plant height (138.58 cm), tillers / plant (2.38), leaves / tillers (11.19), leaf area (339.37 cm2), and green fodder yield (24.71 ton/ha/cut) respectively. However, the other Rhodes grass varieties showed less yielding results for all the agronomic parameters for different irrigation treatments. Hence it is recommended that Fine cut variety is best suited to cultivate in the arid region of Makhdum Rasheed, Punjab – Pakistan with the irrigation interval of 10 days. Too early or late water application will be a wasteful and uneconomical practice.

Keywords:

Rhodes Grass, Nitrogen Fertilizer, Irrigation, Agriculture, Multan, Pakistan.

Citation:

Arshad, I., Shah, N.H., Vallejera, C.A.E., 2019. Effect of different levels of Irrigation on the Growth and Yield of Rhodes Grass (Chloris gayana L. Kunth.) under the Agro-Climatic Conditions of Multan, Pakistan. Int. J. Altern. Fuels. Energy., 3(1): 13-21.

INTRODUCTION

The fodder production in Pakistan is very important because the fodder is a basic source of energy utilized for feeding the livestock. It can successfully provide the fodder for animal during the lean period. According to the past studies it can be noted that more than 2.7 M ha of cultivated area is utilized for fodder production (Muhammed, 2009). Rhodes grass is an important multi-cut and multi-tillering annual fodder. Green fodder in hay form is much more popular around the globe especially in UAE and Gulf Regions. And among all fodder grasses the Rhodes grass (Chloris Gayana. L. Kunth.); is becoming popular with every passing day (Arshad et al., 2014). It is suitable for silage and hay like by all kinds of stock but may causes skin trouble in horses. Rhodes grass has high protein value (9 – 12%) and the average water consumption for Rhodes grass production is about 600 mm to 1200 mm. Arid regions where summer comes early the Rhodes grass sowing can be done from March to April and August to September (Valenzuela et al., 2002).

Fertilizer and irrigation is the most important input that contributes to the yield, growth and to the quality improvement of the annual forage plants. It has been observed from past studies that Rhodes grass responded well to nitrogen fertilizer after a basic pre-plant phosphorous application (Arshad et al., 2006). Furthermore, response of Rhodes grass was remarkable when Nitrogen fertilization was applied in a separate split dose (Rehman, 2007). By increasing the Nitrogen fertilizer, the leaf area and leaf to stem ratio of Rhodes grass also increase (Arshad, 2015). Fertilizers treatment had a very significant effect on fodder yield (fresh and dry), compared to control in Sorghum (Qamar et al., 2000).  On time irrigation play a very important role to enhance the fodder production and quality and quantity of Rhodes grass (Arshad et al., 2016). Considering the above facts, the present investigation was conducted at Multan – Pakistan by focusing the Rhodes grass response to various levels of irrigation in available agro-ecological conditions.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Location

The present study was conducted in the arid region of Multan in (Dogar Agricultural Farms) located at 8 km distance from Makhdum Rasheed Village Punjab – Pakistan in April (2017 / 2018). The soil of the agricultural farm was sandy clay loam in texture, with hydraulic conductivity (1.119 x 10-4 m/sec), bulk density (1.4 g/сm3), and porosity (0.44) respectively. The total farm area was comprised of about 100 acres from which 15acres was cultivated with wheat and 35 acres with mango orchard and remaining 50 acres was kept for Rhodes grass cultivation accordingly.

Field Experimental Procedure

The experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with four replications. Thus, the total numbers of plots were twenty and the size of each plot was (5m x3m). In initial step the weeds and extra grass were cleared by using two split crosswise cultivator operations supplemented with disk plow to ensure uniform distribution of irrigation water. The land was then rough leveled by tractor with front and rear blade. To break the big mud stones (particles) of soil in to small fine particles the wooden deck and rotavator was used to ensure effective germination (Arshad et al., 2014). Then cow dung was mixed by the help of tractor with front and rear blade and left for 3 days. After leveling pre- irrigation of 1 inch / acre of irrigation water was supplied to observe re-growth of grass and weeds. Then after 4-5 days the grown weeds and grass were cleared by using cultivator and tooth harrow operation accordingly. Finally, with the help of border maker 20 small plot of (15 m2) area each was prepared.

Five commercial Rhodes grass cultivars sourced from Australia i.e. Pioneer, Katambora, Finecut, Callide, and Topcut was sown at the rate of 10kg per acre on (April 15, 2017) and Phosphorous fertilizer (DAP) dose applied at sowing accordingly. The watering treatments comprised of five different irrigation levels i.e. (I1 = 5 days, I2 = 10 days, I3 = 15 days, I4 = 20 days, and I5= 25 days) respectively (Table 1). 100 kg/acre nitrogen was applied in split doses by broadcasting in different interventions of growth period. All the plots were having equal amount of fertilizer doses throughout research work (Mirza et al., 2002). Altogether five cuts at 50% flowering stage were obtained during the study period. 20 plants were selected at random in each plot at 50% flowering stage for cutting the Rhodes grass crop for fodder purpose. The economic parameters studied during the research was plant height, tillers / plant, leaves / tillers, leaf area, green fodder yield, and dry matter yield respectively. All the collected data were subjected to analysis of variance; to test the superiority of treatment mean LSD test was applied by using a Microsoft computer package “MSTATC”.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The present research study was carried out to check the performance of Rhodes grass yield and growth rate for five different varieties. The outcome of the study revealed that Rhodes grass plant height, tillers / plant, leaves / tillers, leaf area, green fodder yield and dry matter yields; differed very significantly at (P < 0.05) as shown in Table 2 to Table 6 respectively.

Economic Characters Studied for Rhodes Grass

Plant Height

The response of the different varieties to the plant height was found highly significant as the overall lowest plant height was observed in Callide (112.00 cm) followed by the Topcut (113.50 cm) for treatment I5 respectively. However, the overall highest plant height was attained by Finecut (138.58 cm) followed by the Katambora (133.30 cm) for the treatment I2 and I4respectively. Similar results were obtained for plant height for Rhodes grass by (Yousif et al., 2012), who also observed the variation in Rhodes grass cultivars for the plant height.

Tillers / Plant

Different varieties response to the tillers per plant was observed highly significant. The overall lowest tillers per plant was observed in Topcut (4.15) followed by the Calide (4.27) for the treatment I5 and I4 respectively. However, the overall highest tillers per plant was attained by Finecut (5.38) followed by the Katambora (5.23) for the treatment I2respectively. These results were according to the observation of (Ali et al., 2001), who also observed the variation in Rhodes grass cultivars for the tillers per plant.

Leaves / Tiller

The analysis of variance indicated that all varieties were highly significant   (P < 0.05) for the leaves per tiller. Once again the overall highest leaves per tiller was attained by Finecut (11.19) followed by the Katambora (10.77) for the treatment I2 and I4respectively. However, the lowest leaves per tillers were observed in Topcut (8.93) for the treatment I5respectively. The statistical analysis showed that these cultivars were statistically same for this trait. Similar results were recorded by (Saad, 2010) during his research work on Rhodes grass cultivation.

Leaf Area

The analysis of variance indicated that all varieties were highly significant   (P < 0.05) for the trait leaf area. It has been observed that overall cultivar Finecut showed highest leaf area (339.37 cm2) followed by Katambora (326.44 cm2) for the treatment I2 and I4, and lowest leaf area was observed for Topcut (281.87 cm2) for the treatment I5 respectively. The statistical analysis showed that these varieties were statistically at par form each other for this trait. These results were according to the observations of the (Mirza et al., 2002).

Green Fodder Yield

All varieties showed the highly significant (P < 0.05) differences for the green fodder yield per hectare per cut. The overall maximum yield for green fodder per hectare was observed for the Finecut (24.71 ton/ha/cut) for treatment I2, followed by Katambora (23.77 ton/ha/cut) for treatment I4, while the lowest yield per hectare was observed for Callide (17.32 ton/ha/cut) for the treatment I5respectively. Similar results were obtained for green fodder yield for Rhodes grass (Borhan et al., 2000).

Dry Fodder Yield 

Different cultivars response to the dry fodder yield was observed highly significant. The overall lowest dry fodder yield per hectare observed in Callide (4.29 ton/ha/cut) followed by the Topcut (4.42 ton/ha/cut) for the treatment I5 and I4 respectively. However, the overall highest dry fodder yield per hectare was once again attained by Finecut (7.09 ton/ha/cut) for the treatment I2 respectively. These results were according to the observation of (Brima, 2011), who also observed the variation in Rhodes grass cultivars for the dry fodder yield. The comparison of different Rhodes grass varieties are elaborated in Figures 1 to 6 respectively.

Figures and Tables

CONCLUSION

As a consequence of present research study, it can be concluded that different Rhodes grass varieties had a significant effect on the growth and yield of Rhodes grass. In a replicated field trial the economic parameters was studied and analysis of variance showed that the commercial varieties were significantly varied from each other. The treatment I2(irrigation interval 10 days) gives the overall higher yielding results for all the economic parameters and Finecut was the most suitable variety for this treatment which produced highest (7.09 ton/ha/cut) dry fodder yield per hectare per cut. The maximum plant height (138.58 cm), tillers / plant (2.38), leaves / tillers (11.19), leaf area (339.37 cm2), and green fodder yield (24.71 ton/ha/cut) respectively. However, the other Rhodes grass varieties showed less yielding results for all the agronomic parameters for different irrigation treatments. Hence it is recommended that Finecut variety is best suited to cultivate in the arid region of Makhdum Rasheed, Punjab – Pakistan with the irrigation interval of 10 days.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

All the authors have declared that no conflict of interest exists.

REFERENCES

Ali, M., Qamar, I.A., Ali, A., Arshad, M., Iqbal, J., 2001. Evaluation of tropical grasses for forage yield and crude protein content in the Pothowar plateau of Pakistan. J. Biol. Sci., 1(1): 466–477.

Arshad, I., Ali, W., Khan, Z.A., Bhayo, W.A., 2016. Effect of Water Stress on the Growth and Yield of Rhodes Grass (Chloris gayana. L. Kunth.). PSM Biol. Res., 1(2): 58-61.

Arshad, I., 2015. Performance of Different Rhodes Grass Varieties under the Agro-Climatic Conditions of Sindh, Pakistan. Int. J. Res. In App. Sci. & Eng. Tech., 3(7): 267 – 273.

Arshad, I., Medani, K.M., Khan, Z.A., 2014. Effect of Manual and Artificial Application of NPK Fertilizers on the Growth and Yield of Rhodes Grass (Chloris Gayana L. Kunth.) by Using Central Pivot Irrigation Technology. Int. J. of Res., 1(7) 48-58.

Arshad, M., Razzaq, A., Saleem, A., 2006. Performance of Various Forage Grasses under spring and Monsoon Seasons at Pothowar Plateau (Pakistan). Int. J. of Agric. & Biol., 1(3):398–401.

Borhan, H., Hago, T.E., 2000. Principle of Crop Production. University of Khartoum Printing Press, Sudan.

Brima, F.I., 2011. Effect of Seed Rate and NPK Fertilization on Growth, Yield and Forage Quality of Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana L. Kunth). M.Sc. Thesis. Faculty of Agriculture, University of Khartoum, Sudan.

Mirza, S.N., Mohammad, N., Qamar, I.A., 2002. Effect of growth stages on quality of forage grasses. Pakistan J. Agric. Res., 17(2): 145–147.

Mohammed, H.M., 2009. Pasture in Sudan ways of support and development. Paper presented in the conference for the role of ranchers in the development of pastoral sector. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Qamar, I.A., Akbar, G., Asif, M., 2000. Performance of summer grasses in arid rangelands of Dhabiji (Sindh). Sci. Tech. Develop., 19(1): 45–47.

Rahman, A., 2007. Effect Seed Rate and NPK Fertilization on Growth and Yield of Forage Quality of Rhodes Grass (Chloris gayana L. Kunth). M.Sc. Thesis. Faculty of Agriculture, University of Khartoum, Sudan.

Saad, H.H., 2010. Evaluation of Nitrogen Fertilizers on Quality and Quantity of Rhodes Grass (Chloris gayana L. Kunth). M.Sc. Thesis. Faculty of Agriculture Studies, Sudan University of Science and Technology, Sudan.

Valenzuela, H., Smith, J., 2002. Rhodes Grass, Sustainable Agriculture, Cover Crops/SA-CC-3. Cooperative Extension Service, Collage of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. University of Hawaii at Manoa website www.ctahr.hawaii.ed

Yossif, A.M., Ibrahim, Y.M., 2012. Effect of Fertilizers (Urea, Farmyard and Chicken Manure) on Growth and Yield of Rhodes Grass (Chloris Gayana L. Knuth.). Uni. J. of Plant Sci. 1(3): 85-90.