Agronomic, morphogenic and structural characteristics of tropical forage grasses in northeast Brazil

Rosane C. Rodrigues, Thiago V.R. Sousa, Maria A.A. Melo, Jocélio S. Araújo, Rogério P. Lana, Clésio S. Costa, Maria Elizabete Oliveira, Michelle O.M. Parente, Ivan B.M. Sampaio

Abstract


The objective of this study was to assess the agronomic, morphogenic and structural characteristics of tropical forage grasses during the establishment phase and throughout the second year in northeast Brazil. The treatments included 9 grasses: Brachiaria humidicola (koronivia grass), Brachiaria hybrid cv. Mulato, Brachiaria brizantha cvv. Piatã, Xaraés and Marandu, Brachiaria ruziziensis (ruzi grass), Brachiaria decumbens (signal grass), Panicum hybrid cv. Massai and Andropogon gayanus (gamba grass). The grasses were planted in a randomized complete block design with 4 replications. The following parameters were measured: total forage production, leaf:stem ratio, tiller population density, number of dead tillers, leaf emergence rate, phyllochron, leaf elongation rate, stem elongation rate, rate of leaf senescence, final length of leaf blade and life-span of leaves. In the establishment year, cv. Mulato produced the highest forage yields, followed by cvv. Xaraés and Massai, with gamba grass and koronivia grass worst. In the second year, cvv. Mulato, Xaraés and Marandu, and gamba grass showed highest forage production, while cvv. Massai and Piatã produced the least. All grasses showed a marked drop in production during the dry season. Cultivar Massai consistently had the highest leaf:stem ratio. The morphogenic and structural characteristics differed according to cultivar and season of the year. In general, leaf emergence rate, leaf elongation rate, stem elongation rate, rate of leaf senescence, final length of the leaf blade, number of live leaves per tiller and density of living tillers were higher in the rainy season, while the phyllochron and life-span of leaves were higher in the dry season. The results of this research highlight the potential of the Brachiaria cultivars Mulato and Xaraés, gamba grass and Panicum cv. Massai in subhumid Maranhão, northeast Brazil.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17138/tgft(2)214-222

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