Study establishes agronomic characteristics, nutrient composition of ‘Pakchong 1’ when grown under Philippine condition

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Pakchong 1, an improved grass developed by Dr. Krailas Kiyothong of Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development (DLD), was studied by a group of researchers from the Central Luzon State University and the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), to determine its agronomic characteristics and nutrient composition under Philippine condition.

Pakchong 1 is a cross of ordinary Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) and pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum). It was introduced by Dr. Kiyothong to PCC last 2014 before it was studied by the latter last April 2015 to March 2016.

Titled “Agronomic Characteristics and Nutrient Composition of Pakchong 1 Using Vermicast”, the study used a 3x3 factorial design to determine its above stated objective using three treatments namely inorganic fertilizer, vermicast and inorganic fertilizer with vermicast.

Dr. Daniel L. Aquino, one of the researchers, said they used 12 quadrants, measuring 2mx6m per quadrant, in planting Pakchong 1 cuttings in PCC’s pasture area in the Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija.

“For treatments 1, 2, and 3, we used about 1, 016.5 kg of inorganic fertilizer, 360 bags of vermicast, and 5, 082.5 of vermicast with 1, 016 kg inorganic fertilizer, respectively, in a hectare per year, in the study,” Dr. Aquino explained.

He added they used the nutrient depletion of the grass as the basis of the rate of their application for the inorganic fertilizer treatment while they used 1:5 bag ratio as basis for the application of the vermicast with inorganic fertilizer treatment. They also used three cutting intervals such as 45, 52, and 60 days after planting.

The study showed the following results:

The use of inorganic fertilizer gave the highest herbage yield of Pakchong 1, which is about 500, 000 kg per hectare per year, compared to the vermicast (303, 750 kg) and inorganic fertilizer with vermicast (455, 000 kg), during the first cycle.

The use of inorganic fertilizer also gave the highest dry matter yield of 109, 722 kg per hectare per year on the average compared to the vermicast (44, 722 kg) and inorganic fertilizer with vermicast (98, 799 kg).

The use of vermicast, gave the highest herbage yield of 202, 000 kg per hectare per year on the average compared to inorganic fertilizer (194, 917 kg) and inorganic fertilizer with vermicast (192, 458 kg) during the second cycle.

Furthermore, the study showed that the use of inorganic fertilizer with vermicast gave the highest crude protein of 11.32% compared to the inorganic fertilizer (10.59%) and vermicast (8.29%). Its herbage yield and dry matter yield are quite similar to the use of inorganic fertilizer alone, too, according to the study.

Other results indicated that, Pakchong 1 had: (1) dry matter ranging from 18%-20%; (2) neutral detergent fiber (NDF) ranging from 58%-61%; (3) ash content ranging from 8%-12%; and (4) crude protein ranging from 7-11%.

The study recommended the following for further studies:

(1) Continually monitor the agronomic characteristics and nutrient composition of Pakchong 1 to cover one production cycle to include wet and dry seasons;

(2) Perform a complete soil analysis to determine the soil components of the pasture area;

(3) Consider regular monitoring on the occurrence of pathogens or pests in the area;

(4) Determine the nutrients digestibility/degradability to access the salient nutrients that are available to animals; and finally,

(5) Determine the economic cost of production and feeding of Pakchong 1 to dairy animals.

Other researchers who conducted the study were Dr. Ernesto Garillo and Ivan Carl Dela Rosa of CLSU and Phoebe Lhyndia Llantada of PCC.

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