Performance of Grasses to Provide Soil Cover and Produce Biomass (Fodder) Under Rainfed Conditions
Performance of Grasses
Keywords:grasses, soil cover, hedge suitability, high rainfall area, soil conservation
The grasses are suitable to provide cover to the soil and they can be used as fodder. A study was conducted to screen out the best species of native and exotic grasses which can flourish under rainfed conditions of Pothwar for biomass (fodder) production, grass hedge suitability and soil cover due to spreading character. Initially twelve grasses were planted for evaluation of their performance under rainfed conditions viz. Khavi, Madhana, Palwan, Lemon, Mott, khabbal, Kai, Suryala, Vetiver, Chingen, Babbar and Kangroo. Four grasses which could not survive under stress were Khabbal, Palwan, Chingen and Kangroo compared to other eight grasses. These remaining eight grass species were tested for biomass yield, spread ability and growth during 2008-2013 and data for plant height, periphery (hedge suitability) and biomass yield were collected at each year in three months intervals. The mean data of six years from 2008-2013 indicated that Mott grass (Pennisetum perpureum) attained the highest spreading (1.49 m) as well as biomass yield (47.48 t/ha) followed by Kai grass (Typha latifolia) with periphery (0.93 m) and biomass yield (13.7 t/ha). Khavi (Cymbopogen schoenanthus) produced least periphery and biomass yield as compared to other grasses. The order of suitability regarding biomass among eight grasses was Mott grass> Kai grass > Lemon grass > Shryala grass> Vetiver grass> Madana grass> Babbar grass> and Khavi grass. The results revealed that these grasses are suitable as soil cover for strengthening bunds structures to arrest erosion as well as fodder production for livestock in this area.