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Licensed under a Creative Commons *Corresponding Author: Evaluation of Desho (Pennisetum pedicellatum) Grass Varieties for Dry Matter Yield and Chemical Composition under Irrigation in two Districts of South Omo Zone, Southwestern Ethiopia

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Abstract

Background: Productivity and reproductive performances of livestock in Ethiopia is low mainly due to scarcity and quality of feed. The Desho grass is indigenous to Ethiopia and belongs to the family Poaceae and has high biomass production potential that could be used to tackle the problem of scarcity and quality of feed. Objectives: This study was initiated to evaluate dry matter yield and chemical composition of four Desho grass varieties grown in irrigated lowland of Dassench and Hamer districts of South Omo Zone in southwestern Ethiopia. Material and Methods: The Sermemiret Kebele from Dassench District and Eribore Kebele from Hamer district were selected for a participatory on-farm experimental trial with active involvements of district pastoral office experts and Kebele development agents. Four Desho grass varieties, namely, Areka-DZF#590, Kulumisa-DZF#590, Kindokisha-DZF#591 and Areka local were evaluated in a randomized complete block design with three replications per variety. Data on dry matter yield (DMY), cutting height, number of tillers per plant (NTPP) and leaf to stem ratio (LTSR) were analyzed using the Generalized Linear Model (GLM) procedures of SAS. Results: The highest (P < 0.05) dry matter yield (35.09 t ha-1) and Crude protein (CP) (129.50g kg-1 , DM) were recorded for Areka-DZF#590 whereas the lowest dry matter yield (16.96 t ha-1) and CP (90.60g kg-1 , DM) were obtained from Areka local check. Conclusion and Implication: We conclude that Areka-DZF#590 Desho grass variety was found to be the highest in dry matter and crude protein production. Pastoralists, agro-pastoralists, and farmers in the area could enhance feed availability for increased livestock production.
©Haramaya University, 2021
ISSN 1993-8195 (Online), ISSN 1992-0407(Print)
East African Journal of Sciences (2021) Volume 15 (1) 71-78
Licensed under a Creative Commons *Corresponding Author: getademe12@gmail.com
Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Evaluation of Desho (
Pennisetum pedicellatum
) Grass Varieties for Dry Matter Yield
and Chemical Composition under Irrigation in two Districts of South Omo Zone,
Southwestern Ethiopia
Denbela Hidosa and Demerew Getaneh*
Livestock Research Directorate, Jinka Agricultural Research Center, P.O. Box, 96, Jinka, Ethiopia
Abstract
Background: Productivity and reproductive performances of livestock in Ethiopia is low mainly due
to scarcity and quality of feed. The Desho grass is indigenous to Ethiopia and belongs to the family
Poaceae and has high biomass production potential that could be used to tackle the problem of
scarcity and quality of feed.
Objectives: This study was initiated to evaluate dry matter yield and chemical composition of four
Desho grass varieties grown in irrigated lowland of Dassench and Hamer districts of South Omo
Zone in southwestern Ethiopia.
Material and Methods: The Sermemiret Kebele from Dassench District and Eribore Kebele from
Hamer district were selected for a participatory on-farm experimental trial with active involvements
of district pastoral office experts and Kebele development agents. Four Desho grass varieties,
namely, Areka-DZF#590, Kulumisa-DZF#590, Kindokisha-DZF#591 and Areka local were
evaluated in a randomized complete block design with three replications per variety. Data on dry
matter yield (DMY), cutting height, number of tillers per plant (NTPP) and leaf to stem ratio (LTSR)
were analyzed using the Generalized Linear Model (GLM) procedures of SAS.
Results: The highest (P < 0.05) dry matter yield (35.09 t ha-1) and Crude protein (CP) (129.50g kg-1,
DM) were recorded for Areka-DZF#590 whereas the lowest dry matter yield (16.96 t ha-1) and CP
(90.60g kg-1, DM) were obtained from Areka local check.
Conclusion and Implication: We conclude that Areka-DZF#590 Desho grass variety was found to
be the highest in dry matter and crude protein production. Pastoralists, agro-pastoralists, and farmers
in the area could enhance feed availability for increased livestock production.
Keywords: Acid detergent fiber; Crude protein; Cutting height; Neutral detergent fiber; Number of
tillers per plant
1. Introduction
Ethiopia has the largest livestock population in
Africa possessing 61 million cattle, 33.02 million
sheep, 38.96 million goats, 1.93 million horses, 9.66
million donkeys, 0.37 million mules, camels 1.76
million and 59.42 million poultry population (CSA,
2018/19 ). However, the overall production and
productivity of livestock in Ethiopia are generally
very low due to many factors (FAO, 2018). The poor
feed quality and inadequate feed supply especially
during the dry season are the top urgent factors that
seriously reduce livestock production (FAO, 2018).
Likewise, in the study districts, the livestock feeding
system is extensively based on natural pasture
(Denbela Hidosa et al., 2017; Berhanu Tekelyohannes
et al., 2017).
It is obvious that the natural pasture-based
livestock feeding system is greatly influenced by feed
supply and nutritional dynamics of range forages
(Hidosa and Tesfaye, 2018). Moreover, these feed
resources could not satisfy the nutritional
requirement of animals particularly in the dry
seasons with the supply being inconsistently
distributed over the seasons in the study districts.
Furthermore, feeds from natural pasture are
characterized by high fiber (>55%) and low crude
protein (CP) (< 7%) (Diriba Geleti et al., 2014). As a
result, the total dry matter intakes are limited and
barely satisfy even the maintenance requirements of
animals. This triggers high mortality, longer calving
intervals and substantial weight loss of livestock
(Denbela Hidosa et al., 2017; Berhanu Tekelyohannes
et al., 2017; Hidosa and Tesfaye, 2018; Admasu Teferi
et al., 2010). Therefore, testing and identifying
adaptable forage species to improve natural pasture-
based feeding system is the only way out to overcome
the problem of feed shortage in the study districts
(Denbela Hidosa et al., 2017; Shapiro et al., 2015).
Desho (Pennisetum pedicellatum) grass is an indigenous
perennial grass of Ethiopia belonging to the family
Poaceae. It has an extensive root system that well
anchors the soil with high biomass production
potential (Leta Gerba et al., 2013). The previously
reported dry matter yields results for different
varieties of this grass under irrigation were found to
be 28.35, 26.52, 23.37 and 21.95 tons/hectare for
Areka-DZF#590, Kulumisa-DZF#592, KindoKisha-
Denbela and Demerew East African Journal of Sciences Volume 15 (1) 71-78
72
DZF#589 and KindoKisha-DZF591 respectively
(Tekalegn Yirgu et al., 2017). Moreover, Gadisa
Birmaduma et al. (2019) reported dry matter yields of
28.74, 26.14 and 23.59 ton/hectare for Areka-
DZF#590, Kulumisa-DZF#592 and KindoKisha-
DZF#591 varieties, respectively under rain fed
condition. In addition, Desho grass is currently being
utilized as a means of soil conservation practices,
rehabilitation of degraded land, as animal feeds as
well as provision of a small business opportunity for
the people in the country (FOA, 2010; Shiferaw
Abebe et al., 2011; Leta Gerba et al., 2013; Yakob
Getahun et al. 2015; Bimrew Asmare et al, 2016;
Worku Bedeka et al., 2017).
Pertaining to the feeding value of Desho grass
used as a basal diet, an increasing proportion of the
hay from 0 to 100% for Washera lambs
supplemented with a concentrate mixture showed
improvement in total dry matter intake, nutrient
digestibility and average daily weight gain
performances as compared to sheep fed on pasture
hay as basal diet (Bimrew Asmare et al., 2016).
However, different Desho grass varieties have not
been evaluated for forage dry matter yield and their
chemical composition in irrigated lowland areas in
South Omo Zone. Therefore, the current study was
initiated with the objectives of evaluating dry matter
yield and chemical composition of four Desho grass
varieties grown under irrigation in Dassench and
Hamer districts in South Omo Zone.
2. Material and Methods
2.1. Description of Study Area
This study was conducted in agro-pastoral areas of
the Hamer and Dassench districts of South Omo
Zone. Dassench district is situated at a geographical
location of 5014' “0”N Latitude, 36044' 01”E
Longitude with an elevation range of 350 to 900m
above sea level and an average temperatures ranging
from 25 to 40oC. The annual rainfall of the district
ranged from 350 to 600mm having a bimodal rainfall
with erratic distribution and soil type is silty alluvial.
According to the population projections for 2016/17
based on the population and housing census
conducted in 2007 (Central Statistical Agency, 2008),
the Dassench district has a total human population
of 70, 133 and whereas, the population of livestock
are estimated to be 1, 014, 403 cattle, 753, 568 sheep,
1, 013971 goats, 23, 412 Poultry and 17, 228 donkeys.
According to the estimate of CSA (2010), the total
population of Hamer district is 79, 419 and the
population is composed of three ethnic groups.
These are Hamer, Erborie and Kara with a
population of 54,583 (81.4 %), 10,333 (15.4%) and
2,129 (3.2%), respectively. Annual rainfall is an
average of 764 mm per annum. The climate of the
district is a mix of Dry Woyina Dega (8%), Dry Kola
(54%), Semi Dry Kola (37.5%) and Desert (0.5%).
The highest temperature in the district ranges
between 32 oC to 38 oC and while the lowest
temperature ranges between 290c to 310c. Livestock
production is the main stay of the majority of the
Hamer district and there are about 324,000 cattle,
714,000 goats and 332,000 sheep (SOFEDB, 2014).
2.2. Experimental Site Selection and Preparation
Based on availability and accessibility of irrigation
schemes, the Sermemiret Kebele (lowest
administrative Sub-unit) from Dassench and Eribore
Kebele from Hamer district were selected for On-
farm experimental trials after communication with
Livestock and Fisher Resource Development Offices
of the two districts. The land ploughed, disked,
harrowed and ridges by using tractor and corrected
by labors.
2.3. Experimental Design and Treatments
In the current study, a Randomized Completed Block
Design in factorial arrangement having two locations
and four varieties level with three replications per
variety was used to evaluate the Desho grass varieties.
A total of 12 plots were used in the experiment with
three replications in which each of the plots having
an area of a 4m x 3m = (12 m2). Each plot had 4
rows with the spacing between rows and plants
within a row being 1meter and 0.5 m, respectively
(Denbela Hidosa et al., 2020). The spacing between
plots was 1 meter and the total area of the
experimental site was 13 x 16 m (208 m2). The three
Desho grass varieties; Areka-DZF#590, Kulumisa-
DZF#590 and Kindokisha-DZF#591 were collected
from Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Center,
whereas one Areka local variety obtained from Jinka
Agricultural Research Center. The planting materials
were the root splits which were planted without
fertilizer application neither at planting nor in the
growing period. Furrow irrigation method was used
with all plots being irrigated uniformly after a three-
day interval.
2.4. Data Collection and Measurement
The agronomic data such as cutting height above
ground, leaf to stem ratio (LTSR) and number of
tillers per plant were recorded at the age of 65 days
after planting by harvesting the two middle rows
using sickle. Fresh samples were recorded in the field
immediately after harvest using spring balance. Five-
hundred-gram sample per plot was brought to Jinka
Agricultural Research Center. Samples were chopped
into pieces and 300-gram sub-sample was taken to be
dried in an oven set at a temperature of 105°C for 24
hours. Dry matter yield was determined using the
following formula described by James et al. (2008).
 
 ;
Where, TFW = total fresh weight kg/plot; DWss =
dry weight of sub-sample in grams; FWss = fresh
weight of sub-sample in grams, HA = Harvest plot
area in square meters and 10 is a constant for
conversion of yields in kg/m2 to t/ha.
Cutting height above ground was measured from
the ground level to the tip of five randomly selected
plants per plot using a steel tape. To determine the
fresh weight of leaf to stem ratios, samples were
Denbela and Demerew Dry Matter Yield and Chemical Composition of Desho Grass
73
categorized into leaf and stem first and then the
weights of each component was measured separately.
The samples were oven dried for 24 hours at a
temperature of 105°C and separately weighed to
estimate the proportions of these parts. Accordingly,
the Leaf to Stem Ratio (LTSR) was estimated based
on the dry matter of each component.
2.5. Chemical Analysis
The laboratory analysis was done at Debre Birhan
Agricultural Research Center, Ethiopia. Three forage
sample of each variety was allowed to be oven dried
set at a temperature of 65°C for 48 hours and ground
to pass through a 1mm sieve size for chemical
analysis (AOAC, 1990). Dry mater yield (DMY),
Crude protein (CP) and ash were analyzed according
to the procedures of (AOAC, 1990). The Neutral
Detergent Fiber (NDF) values were calculated using
the procedure of Van Soest et al. (1991) and whereas
the Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF) value was analyzed
using the procedures described by Van Soest and
Robert (1985).
3.2. Data Analysis
The data such as cutting height, number of tillers per
plant, dry matter yield and nutritional parameters
were subjected to analysis of variances (ANOVA)
using the Generalized Linear Model (GLM)
procedure of Statistical Analysis System software
(SAS, 2002). The significant differences among the
means of varieties were declared significant at P ≤
0.05 and means were separated using Least
Significant Difference (LSD). The model employed
was,
Yijk = μ + Ri +Vj+ Lk + (VL)jk + eijk
Where, yijk = is the dependent variables; μ = overall
mean; R = replication; Vi = the effect of variety; Lj
= the effect of Locations; ViLj = the interaction
effects of variety by location and eijk = random error.
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Dry Matter Yield, Cutting Height, Number
of Tillers per Plant and Leaf to Stem Ratio
The dry matter yield, cutting height, number of tillers
per plant and Leaf to stem ratio (LTSR) of Desho
grass varieties under irrigation in the lowland of
Dassench and Hamer districts are presented in
Table1. The result of the current study revealed that
Areka-DZF#590 variety gave the higher (P<0.05)
dry matter yield than KindoKisha-DZF#591 and
Areka local check varieties but it was comparable to
Kulimisa-DZF#590 variety. However, the dry matter
yield was insignificant (P>0.05) among the Kulimisa-
DZF#590, KindoKisha-DZF#591 and Areka local
varieties. The cutting height above ground obtained
from this study was not significantly (P>0.05) varied
among the varieties but Kindo Kisha-DZF#590 gave
taller cutting height above ground and whereas,
Areka local gave shortest cutting height above
ground. Moreover, Areka-DZF#590 variety
produced significantly (P < 0.05) higher branches per
plant than Kulimisa-DZF#590, KindoKisha-
DZF#591 and Areka local but it was insignificant
(P>0.05) among the Kulimisa-DZF#590,
KindoKisha-DZF#591 and Areka local varieties.
On the other hand, Kulimisa-DZF#590 had higher
(P<0.05) LTSR than Areka-DZF#590 and Areka
local varieties but it was comparable (P>0.05) to the
Kindo Kisha-DZF#591 variety. Conversely, Areka-
DZF#590 Desho grass variety gave significantly
(P<0.05) higher number of tillers per plant than
Kulimisa-DZF#590, Kindokisha-DZF#591 and
Areka local Desho grass varieties but it was
insignificant(P>0.05) among the latter of three grass
varieties. The higher dry matter yield for Areka-
DZF#590 variety from this study is due to the higher
genetic potential of the variety to adapt to the tested
environment than the other varieties.
Table 1. Dry matter yield, cutting height, number of tillers per plant and leaf to stem ratio of Desho grass variety
grown in irrigated lowland of Dassench and Hamer districts in South Omo in 2019 year.
Tested variety
Dry Matter Yield
(t ha-1)
Cutting Height
(cm)
Number of tillers per
plant
Kulumisa-DZF#591
25.42ab
123.83
51.83b
Kindo Kisha-DZF#592
22.86b
124.33
49.17b
Areka-DZF#590
35.09a
115
69.83a
Areka Local
16.79b
98.77
48.00b
SEM
5.77
21.41
7.82
LSD
12.13
45.92
16.77
Note: Means with the same letter(s) are not significantly different at P>0.05. SEM = Standard error of mean and LSD = Least
Significance difference.
The previous studies reported by different scholars
were demonstrated that the wider range of dry
matter yield difference between Desho grass varieties
could be attributed due to differences in genetic
potential of varieties (Tekalegn Yirgu et al., 2017;
Gadisa Birmaduma et al., 2019; Bimrew Asmare et al,
2016; Denbela Hidosa et al., 2020). The result
obtained on dry matter yield from this study for
Areka-DZ#F590 variety is higher than previously
reported values of 27.99, 28.35 and 28.74t ha-1 by
Denbela Hidosa et al. (2020), Tekalegn Yirgu et al.
(2017) and Gadisa Birmaduma et al. (2019),
respectively. However, the dry matter yield obtained
from this study for Kulumsa-DZF#590 and
KindoKisha-DZF#591 was higher than reported
value of (20.77 and 15 t ha-1) by Denbela Hidosa et al.
Denbela and Demerew East African Journal of Sciences Volume 15 (1) 71-78
74
(2020), respectively under rain fed condition but
relatively similar to previously reported values of
(26.52 and 23.37 t ha-1) by Tekalegn Yirgu et al. (2017)
and 26.14 and 23.59t/ha by (Gadisa Birmaduma et al.
(2019). Furthermore, finding from our study for
cutting height above ground was higher for Areka-
DZ#F590, Kulimsa-DZF#591 and KindoKisha-
DZF#591 varieties to previously reported values
which ranged from 71.27 - 96.30cm by Gadisa
Birmaduma et al. (2019) and Tekalegn Yirgu et al.
(2017), respectively. The difference in number of
tillers produced per plant among the varieties of
Desho grass from our study could be attributed due to
varietal differences. The variation in number of tillers
per plant in different varieties of Desho grass was
also reported in Ethiopia under different agro-
ecologies due to varietal genetic makeup (Denbela
Hidosa et al., 2020; Tekalegn Yirgu et al., 2017;
Bimrew Asmare et al., 2016).
The results on number of tillers per plant for all
tested Desho grass from our study is lower than
previously reported value of 78 by Demeke et al.
(2017) and however, it was higher than reported
value of 50 by Asmare Bimrew et al. (2017) for
Kulimisa-DZF#592 and Areka-DZF#590 but lower
Kindokisha-DZF#591 and Areka local Desho grass
varieties. The leaf fraction is associated with high
nutritive value of the forage because leaf is generally
of higher nutritive value (Fekede Feyissa et al., 2005).
The result for leaf to stem fraction for tested Desho
grass varieties from our study was higher than
reported values for Kulumisa-DZF#592 and
Kindokisha-DZF#592 varieties (Tekalegn Yirgu et al.,
2017) and (Gadisa et al., 2019), but it was comparable
to results reported by same authors for Areka-
DZF#590 variety.
Generally, inconsistency in dry matter yield, cutting
height, number of tillers per plant and leaf to stem
ratio from our study as compared to previously
reported studies by different scholars for tested
Desho varieties might be due to difference in soil
parameters, harvesting age, irrigation effect,
management and agro ecological differences where
this was conducted.
3.2. Effect of Location on Dry Matter Yield,
Cutting Height, Number of tillers per Plant and
Leaf to Steam Ratio
The effects of location on dry matter yield, cutting
height above ground, number of tillers per plant and
leaf to stem ratio are shown in Table2. The results
from this study demonstrated that the dry matter
yield and cutting height above ground were not
significantly (P>0.05) affected by tested locations.
However, better dry matter and longer cutting height
above ground obtained from Dassench location than
Hamer location. Conversely, significantly higher
(P<0.05) number of tillers per plant and leaf to stem
ratio were obtained from Dassench location than
Hamer location. The higher dry matter yield, cutting
height above ground, number of tillers per plant and
leaf to stem ratio from Dassench location than
Hamer is might be due to suitability of temperature
and favorable soil parameters for plant which make
faster plant growth and triggering more leaves per
plats which are responsible for more dry matter yield,
longer cutting height and number of tillers per plant.
Moreover, the highly significant environment
effect and its high variance component could be
attributed to the large differences between the two
test location in altitude, physic-chemical properties
of the soil, temperature, differences in both
amount and distribution of annual rainfall, and
other agro-climatic factors. In supports to the
findings from our study the previous study
reported by different scholars had confirmed that
dry matter yield of forage species greatly
influenced by weather conditions such as rainfall,
temperature and precipitations (Eshetie Alemu et
al., 2018; Usman Semman et al., 2018). Moreover,
the previously reported studies from Ethiopia had
demonstrated that the higher yield of forage could
also be attributed to the favorable rainfall,
temperature and available nutrient in the soil
(Denbela Hidosa et al., 2020; Asmare Bimrew et al.,
2017; Gezahagn Kebede et al., 2016; Kebede
Gezahagn et al., 2016; Yasin Muhammad et al.,
2003).
Table 2. The effects of location on dry matter yield, cutting height, number of tillers per plant and LTSR in irrigated
lowland of Dassench and Hamer districts in South Omo in 2019 cropping year.
Parameter
measured
Tested locations
Dassench
Hamer
Mean
SEM
LSD
DMY( t ha-1)
27.42
22.66
25.04
4.39
9.42
Cutting height (cm)
124.80
106.17
11.48
15.14
32.47
Tillers per plant
61.00a
48.42b
54.70
5.53
11.86
LTSR
1.12a
0.52b
0.82
0.07
0.15
Note: Means with the same letter across row for dry matter yield, cutting height, tillers per plant and LTSR at 65 days are not
significantly different at P>0.05. SEM = Standard error of mean and LSD = Least Significance difference.
Denbela and Demerew Dry Matter Yield and Chemical Composition of Desho Grass
75
3.3. Effect of Location by Variety on Dry Matter
Yield, Cutting Height, Number of tillers per
Plant and Leaf to Stem Ration
The effect of location by variety on dry matter yield,
cutting height, number of tillers per plant and leaf to
stem ratio are presented in Table3. The result for
effect of location and variety revealed higher (P>0.05)
dry matter yield was observed in Dassench location
than Hamer for all tested Desho grass varieties.
Likewise, significantly taller (P<0.05) cutting height
above ground was obtained from Dassench location
than Hamer for KindoKisha-DZF#592 when
compared to Areka-DZF#590 and Areka local check
but it was comparable (P>0.05) to Kulumisa-
DZF#591 variety. Moreover, significantly (P>0.05)
more number of tillers per plant were observed at
Dassench location than Hamer location for all
varieties except Areka-DZF#590 variety which gave
higher (P<0.05) number of tillers per plant but it was
insignificant to other varieties for both locations.
Furthermore, the result on LTSR for location by
variety interaction effect revealed the higher
(P<0.05) LTSR obtained from the Hamer location
than Dassench for Kulumisa-DZF#591variety
except Areka-DZF#590 variety which is gave
higher LTSR at Dassench location but is similar
(P > 0.05) to Kindokisha-DZF#592 variety. The
differences for tested parameters over location for
tested varieties are might be due to variability in
climatic and soil condition which indicated that the
genetic make-up of tested Desho grass varieties
were influenced by environmental factors which
shows to us different varieties have differential
response to different planting locations. The
previous study showed that variety by environment
interaction is the result of changes in cultivar's
relative performance across environments due to
differential responses of the genotypes to various
edaphic, climatic and biotic factors and this is help to
identifying suitable genotype for specific location
(Yasin Muhammad et al., 2003).
Table 3. Effect of Location by variety on dry matter yield, cutting height, number of tillers per plant and LTSR
grown in irrigated lowland of Dassench and Hamer districts in South Omo in 2019 cropping year.
Tested variety
Location
Parameter measured
DMY
(t ha-1)
Cutting height
(cm)
NTPP
LTSR
Kulumsa-DZF#591
Dassench
27.80ab
126.33ab
48.67b
0.56bc
Hamer
23.03ab
121.33ab
49.67b
1.39a
Kindokisha-DZF#592
Dassench
22.93ab
168.00a
49.00b
0.85bc
Hamer
22.78ab
116.67ab
43.00b
1.30a
Areka-DZF#590
Dassench
38.82a
101.00b
96.67a
0.93b
Hamer
31.35ab
113.33ab
47.00b
0.51d
Areka Local
Dassench
20.1c
96.53b
49.67b
0.52d
Hamer
13.51c
80.67b
54.00b
0.50d
SEM
4.39
30.28
11.06
0.15
LSD
9.42
64.95
23.72
0.31
Note: Means with the same letter(s) across column for forage dry matter yield, cutting height, tillers per plant and LTSR at 65 days are
not significantly different at P>0.05. SEM = Standard error of mean and LSD = Least Significance difference.
3.4. Chemical Composition of Desho Grass
Varieties
The chemical compositions of tested Desho grass
varieties grown in irrigated lowland of Dassench and
Hamer districts are presented in Table4. The findings
from this study for DM%, Ash, CP, NDF and ADF
were not significantly (P>0.05) varied for all tested
varieties. However, the Areka-DZF590 variety had
higher (P>0.05) CP content as compared to Areka
local variety used as local check. The variety used as
local check had higher (P<0.05) NDF than Areka-
DZF#590 and Kulumisa-DZF#590 varieties but it
was comparable (P>0.05) to the Kindo-
KishaDZF#591 variety. On the other hand, Areka-
DZF#590, Kulumisa-DZF#590 and KindoKisha-
DZF#591 varieties had similar (P>0.05) NDF
contents. The similarity in crude protein, ash and
ADF for all tested Desho grass varieties is due to
similarity in genetic make-up of varieties to
accumulate similar nitrogen contents in a given
environment. The result obtained from our study for
CP value for all tested Desho grass varieties were
higher than previously reported values by different
authors. Accordingly, the CP values which ranges
from 6.93-9.38% under different spacing and
harvesting stages (Asmare Bimrew et al., 2017); the
reported CP values was also ranges from 7.86- 8.84%
and 3.97-7.81% under different agro-ecologies
respectively by Bimrew Asmare et al. (2018) and
Genet Tilahun et al. (2017), respectively. Generally,
the previously reported studies by Leng (1990) and
Smith(1993) indicated that crude protein content of
about 60-70 g/kg, DM is required for maintenance
of ruminant livestock and whereas, the CP content
of 80-130g/kg, DM is required for moderate milk
production (10-15kg/cow/day) for dairy cows
reported by ARC (1984) and Humphreys (1991).
Therefore, the CP content obtained from our study
for all tested Desho grass varieties is above the
maintenance requirement for ruminant livestock and
Denbela and Demerew East African Journal of Sciences Volume 15 (1) 71-78
76
enough to satisfy protein requirement for dairy Cow
to produce 10-15kg milk/ cow/day.
The NDF and ADF are frequently used as
standard for forage quality testing. The NDF
approximates the total cell wall constituents and is
used to predict intake potential in livestock and
whereas, ADF primarily represents cellulose and
lignin, and is often used to calculate digestibility of
feeds (Van Soest, 1994). The value obtained from our
study for NDF is lower than previously reported
value which ranged 72.78-77.68% by Asmare Bimrew
et al. (2017). But it was relatively comparable to values
which ranged from 58.82-63% reported by Bimrew
Asmare et al. (2018). Moreover, the ADF value
obtained from out study was higher than the
previous reported values which ranged from 45.06-
54.27% and 16.63-36.14% respectively by Asmare
Bimrew et al. (2017) and Genet Tilahun et al. (2017).
Generally, the feeds containing NDF values of less
than 45% could be classified as high quality, those
with values ranging from 45% to 65% as medium
and those with values higher than 65% as low quality
(Singh and Oosting, 1992). Based on this
classification all tested Desho grass varieties except
Areka local which used as check variety can be
classified as medium quality forages class.
Table 4. The chemical compositions of Desho grass variety grown in irrigated lowland of Dassench and Hamer
districts in South Omo in 2019 cropping year.
Tested variety
DM (%)
Ash
(g kg1)
CP
(g kg1)
NDF
(g kg1)
ADF
(g, kg1)
Kulumisa-DZF#592
90
108.70
115.50
615.20b
448.40
Areka-DZF#590
90
101.70
129.50
609.40b
479.80
Kindo Kisha-DZF#591
90
97.20
101.10
656.70ab
497.20
Areka Local
89
91.80
90.60
691.50a
505.20
SEM
1.82
1.31
3.74
3.02
2.54
LSD
4.46
3.20
9.14
7.39
6.22
Note: Means with the same letter(s) across column for DM, Ash, CP, NDF and ADF at 50% flowering stage are not significantly
different at P>0.05. DM = dry matter; CP = Crude protein; Ash = Ash percentage; NDF = Neutral detergent fiber; ADF =
Acid detergent fiber ; SEM = Standard error of mean and LSD = Least Significance difference.
4. Conclusion
The Areka-DZF#590 variety gave higher (P < 0.05)
dry matter yield and whereas, the Areka local which
used as check gave lowest dry matter yield. However,
the Kulimisa-DZF#591 and KindoKisha-DZF#592
had higher (P<0.05) leaf to stem ratio and whereas,
Areka local Desho grass variety used as check gave
lower leaf to stem ratio. Pertaining to testing location,
higher (P<0.05) dry matter yield, cutting height,
number of tillers per plant and leaf to stem ratio
obtained from Dassench location than Hamer for all
tested Desho grass varieties. The DM%, Ash, CP and
NDF were not significantly (P > 0.05) varied for all
tested varieties and however, Areka-DZF590 variety
had higher (P > 0.05) CP content as compared to
Areka local variety. Based on results from this study
we concluded that pastoralists and agro-pastoralists
communities could be planted Areka-DZF#590
Desho grass variety followed by Kulumisa-DZF#591
for higher dry matter yield and CP content. The
future research should focus on the effect of planting
space and cutting interval on forage dry matter yield
and chemical compositions and feeding effect of
superior candidates on livestock production.
5. Acknowledgements
This study was made possible with funding from
Regional Agricultural Growth Program II (AGPII) to
Jinka Agricultural Research Centre for the enhancing
the pastoral livelihoods in South Omo Zone through
improving livestock feed and feeding. Therefore, we
are extremely thankful the Regional Pastoral
Livelihood Resilience Project (RPLRP) for providing
fully fund support for research activity. Also, we are
grateful to acknowledge the Jinka Agricultural
Research Center at Jinka, in South Omo Zone for
providing logistical support and Debre Zeit
Agricultural Research Center for provision of
planting material (splits). Finally, we are grateful to
acknowledge the Laboratory Technician Mr Ashenafi
kebede Hailemariam from Debre Birhan Agricultural
Research Center for his wonderful cooperation in
Laboratory forage sample analysis.
Denbela and Demerew Dry Matter Yield and Chemical Composition of Desho Grass
77
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... Ethiopian livestock populations have been reported as 70.3 million cattle, 52.5 million goats, 42.9 million sheep and 8.1 million camels (MOA, 2021). Natural pasture based feed supply, inadequate and generally of poor quality in Ethiopia, especially in the dry season, has been predominantly responsible for the low productivity of livestock in crop livestock farming systems (Hidosa and Getaneh, 2021). Improved feed production is required to support climate resilient agriculture, reduce greenhouse gas emission and increase livestock productivity in these agricultural systems (Jirata et al., 2016). ...
... Annual dry matter yield in the experiment also ranged from 11.49-39.7 t/ha/year. The results obtained demonstrated that the same variety (Hidosa and Getaneh, 2021) for the same varieties. The dry matter yield dynamics of Desho grass in different harvesting rounds after establishment in the present study was similar to results obtained for other perennial forages, which showed the ability to be harvested frequently after establishment and where the yield was predominantly affected by the season/frequency of harvest (Atumo and Jones, 2021) and by management practices. ...
... The highest tiller number (68.6-104.7 tillers per plant) recorded in different harvesting rounds for three varieties in the present study was greater than previous reports including, 49.17-69.83 tillers per plant hole (Hidosa and Getaneh, 2021), and, 49.6-79.1 tillers per plant (Bedeke et al., 2017) for the same varieties and 51.2 (Yegrem et al., 2019) for other varieties. Leaf number per plant was counted and the calculated average value did not vary significantly among the varieties, although the highest value was obtained for Kindokoisha-DZF#589 (8.37). ...
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The effects of altitude and harvesting period on the performance of desho grass were evaluated in Ethiopia. A factorial arrangement of treatments was employed with a combination of two altitudes and three harvesting dates. Planting and management of desho grass was undertaken according to recommendations for the species. The data collected consisted of plant height, number of tillers, number and length of leaves, leaf-to-stem ratio and fresh yield. Chemical analysis of the constituents of desho grass samples was completed according to standard procedures. All data were subjected to two analysis of variance procedures and Pearson correlation analysis, with significance tested at p<0.05.Results indicated that most morphological characteristics were not significantly different due to altitude except the leaf length per plant. Harvesting dates significantly affected the number of leaves per plant, leaf-to-stem ratio and dry matter yield. Both altitude and harvesting date significantly affected the crude protein content, yield and fiber fractions. Calcium content was significantly different only regarding harvesting date and phosphorus content was significantly affected by altitude. Dry matter content and yield were positively correlated with parameters such as plant height, leaf length per plant, crude protein (CP) yield, fiber fractions (neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber) and with each other. Crude protein content was positively correlated with the CP yield. Overall results indicated that desho grass was affected more by harvesting date than altitude. Generally, desho grass performed well both at mid and high altitude in Ethiopia and could be a potential livestock feed in the country.
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A survey was conducted in Hamer and Bena-Tsemay pastoral and agro-pastoral districts of South Omo zone, south western Ethiopia in between January to May 2011 with the objective to describe availability of feed resource for goats. Data were collected from the two districts by informal and formal survey methods using focused group discussion and semi-structured questionnaire administered to 250 households. Natural pastures from rangelands are major feed sources for goats. Higher feed availability is reported in March to April (during the main rainy season). However, availability of feed extends up to October in Bena-Tsemay district due to the higher rainfall in the district. In both districts, the hot dry season (November to February) is the period of feed scarcity and during which high mortality of goats have been reported. Crop residues and some food left over are also available for supplementing animals especially in the agro-pastoral areas. The efficiency of goat production in the studied districts could be increased by optimizing goats breeding season with the availability of feed resources.