Ten Napier grass accessions were evaluated for agronomic performance and nutritive values at Holetta agricultural research center during the main cropping seasons of 2011-2014. The experiment was conducted in randomized complete block design with three replications. Diammonium phosphate (DAP) fertilizer at the rate of 100 kg/ha was uniformly applied at planting and additionally urea at the rate of 50 kg/ha was top dressed after each forage harvesting. Combined analysis indicated that the tested accessions varied significantly (P<0.05) for number of tillers per plant, plant height and forage DM yield. The highest mean number of tillers per plant was recorded for accession 16817 (38.2) followed by 16794 (37.8) and 16783 (37.7) whereas the lowest (26.4) was recorded for accession 16815. The check accession gave the highest mean plant height (124.8 cm) followed by accession 16791 (115.9 cm) and 15743 (106.6 cm) whereas accession 16813 gave the lowest (75.1 cm). Mean DM yield ranged from 3.5 to 8.0 t/ha with a mean of 5.4 t/ha. Accordingly, accession 16791 gave the highest mean DM yield followed by accession 16819 (6.6 t/ha) and accession 15743 (5.7 t/ha) whereas the lowest obtained from accession 16815. Leaf to stem ratio and node length per plant also varied (P<0.05) significantly and the result indicated that the highest leaf to stem ratio was recorded for accession 16813 (4.8) followed by 16794 (2.1) and 16819 (1.9) whereas the lowest (1.1) was recorded for check accession. Accessions 16791, 16792 and 16819 gave 10.8, 10.4 and 10.1 cm node length per plant respectively. The nutritional quality (IVOMD and NDF) and CP and digestible yields varied (P<0.05) significantly and the result showed that accession 16783 gave the highest ash (153.6 g/kg DM), CP (63.7 g/kg DM) and IVOMD (534.2 g/kg DM). However, accession 16791 gave the highest CP yield (0.6 t/ha) and digestible yield (5.4 t/ha). Accession 16794 gave the highest ADF (496.9 g/kg DM) and ADL (86.4 g/kg DM) contents. On the other hand, accessions 16817, 16791 and 16819 gave the highest NDF (785.7 g/kg DM), cellulose (425.6 g/kg DM) and hemicellulose (324.0 g/kg DM) contents respectively. Generally, Napier grass accessions showed variations in terms of agronomic performance and nutritional qualities at Holetta, in the central highland of Ethiopia.
Prof. Dr. Bilal BİLGİN