Models of biomass accumulation and quality in varieties of elephant grass, Cuba CT-169, OM-22, and king grass during the rainy season in the western part of Cuba


Abstract


The development of the clones of elephant grass Cuba CT-169, king grass (Pennisetum purpureum), and Cuba OM-22 (Pennisetum hibrido)
was studied to measure, in different cutting times (every 14 days), the variables of height, green and dry yield, leaf-stem ratio, percentage of
dry matter, fiber, in vitro digestibility, protein and ash. Thirteen cuts were conducted during 182 d of the dry season to study the relationship
between the cut age and the indicators studied. The biomass accumulation curves, adjusted to the model of Gompertz, are presented. Up to the cut 3 (42 d), the yields accumulated were similar for the three varieties, next to 5 t of DM/ha. From this age on, Cuba CT-169 advantaged the rest of the clones in respect to yield accumulated. After 26 weeks (cut 13), the varieties Cuba CT-169 and Cuba OM-22 accumulated 27 and 28 t DM/ha, respectively and king grass 23 t DM/ha. The rest of the measurements were adjusted to lineal models. The three clones diminished their quality as age increased, while the biomass accumulation increased. Thus, the producer should choose between more quality or more biomass between 42 and 70 d. The clone Cuba OM-22 had better leaf proportions thus it is recommended for high producer- cows and swine. Another advantage is the fact that it has no hair in the leaves. The use of Cuba CT-169 is recommended for general forage production due to its rapid growth, productivity and well protein content.
Key words: Cuba CT-169, Cuba OM-22, king grass, yield, quality

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