Comparative growth responses of range grasses to varying watering schedules in the rangelands of Kenya KOECH OSCAR KIPCHIRCHIR Prof. Robinson Kinuthia Ngugi Dr. George Karuku Dr. Raphael Wanjogu NIB RESEARCH AND PROPOSAL PRESENTATION, KSMS 13TH TO 14TH JUNE 2013 [email protected] INTRODUCTION African dry lands have been facing challenges of food insecurity due to frequent droughts and other extreme climatic events L/s production is the main activity in the D/L of Kenya Plays crucial role in Kenyan economy, contributing ~10% of NGDP and 40% of AGDP (GoK, 2004) In ASALS, L/s contributes ~90% of employment opportunities and ~ 95% of family incomes Potential productivity KSh212.5 billion annually The main constraint is loss of livestock due to high annual mortality (Serna, 2011) Estimated value of losses is KES 2 billion annually (ILRI 2011) This is due to low Q and Q of feed, high disease incidences, poor management Pastoralism/irrigated agriculture complex LIVESTOCK Manure, draft power, capital for inputs in crop lands Nutrients flow from feeds HUMAN Nutrients flow/manure, urine, dispersal Water for crop growth, nutrients cycling CROP LAND PASTURE LANDS WATER RESOURCE/IRRIGATION Control of siltation, hydrological flow maintenance Water for growth, nutrients My study This study seeks to evaluate irrigated pasture species production in the drylands of Kenya, and how scarce water resource can be optimized Currently during dry seasons, fodder is sourced from far and at higher price due to transportation costs and is of poor quality This calls for local fodder production within the dry lands of Kenya, to ensure timely supply and of good quality Objectives The main objective of this study is to increase feed availability for livestock in pastoral areas through integration of crop and pasture production under irrigation. Specific objectives 1. To determine the growth responses (aboveground biomass yield, tiller density, leafstem ratio, seed quantity/quality) of six range grasses growing singly, to different watering schedules. 2. To determine the interspecific competition growth responses of five range grasses growing in mixtures, to different watering schedules. 3. To determine the effect of different watering schedules on forage quality, curability and storability of forage from the six grass species. 4. To estimate water use efficiency and water stress tolerance of the six grass species. MATERIALS AND METHODS Study area This study is being conducted in Tana river county-Bura and Katilu Methodology Field experiments were set up in 6x4 factorial experiments in Completely Randomized Design. There are two treatments: One; watering schedules at 80%, 50% and 30% Field Capacity), and two; six range grass species. Data collection Data collection on primary productivity, forage quality and seed yield and quality, water stress tolerance and calc8ulation of WUE using evapotranspiration. Preliminary Results-Yields ABOVE GROUND BIOMASS Biomass yields on dry matter basis (Kg/ha) of six grass species growing singly, 80% FC 16000 14000 Yield Kg/Ha DM 12000 Chr rox Ersu Enma Ce ci Ch ga Sobi 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 Week 8 Week 10 Week 12 Week 14 Week 16 Biomass yields on dry matter basis (Kg/ha) of six grass species growing singly, 50% FC 14000 Yields kg/ha DM 12000 Chr rox Ersu Enma Ce ci Ch ga Sobi 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 Week 8 Week 10 Week 12 Week 14 Week 16 Biomass yields on dry matter basis (Kg/ha) of six grass species growing singly, 30% FC 12000 Yields Kg/ha DM 10000 Chr rox Ersu Enma Ce ci Ch ga Sobi 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 Week 8 Week 10 Week 12 Week 14 Week 16 Results on yields of the six species Ch ga shows continued production >10000kg/ha at all irrigation levels; no significant differences on yields (P>0.05) So bi produces high biomass at 80% FC irrigation level, and lowest at 30% FC (13664kg/ha) and 7664kg/ha respectively (P<0.05) . No sig diff btw 80 and 50 % Irrigation level Ce ci and En ma produced least biomass yield at 80%, does best at 50 % (9132kg/ha, 10464kg/ha) respectively. Significant diff btw 80 %, FC 50% FC and 30% FC Er su does better at 80%FC (5600kg/ha) than all the two levels (P<0.05) Chl rox has no significant differences (P<0.05) in yields at all irrigation levels (btw 20003500kg/ha) QUALITY- CP % Species Week 8 Week 10 Week 12 Week 14 Week 16 CR 14.6a ±3.1 13.1a ±4.1 13.1a ±2.1 11.4c ±1.8 10.6c ±2.1 ES 13.2a ±2.4 12.8a ±2.2 12.6a ±3.3 12.4a ±1.6 12.1a ±1.6 EM 12.6a ±1.5 12.7a ±3.1 12.3a ±1.6 12.1a ±2.3 11.6a ±3.4 CC 12.1b ±2.3 11.8b ±2.3 12.1a ±4.2 11.4c±2.7 10.7b ±3.2 CG 13.3a ±3.4 12.6a ±4.1 12.5a ±2.1 12.6a ±4.5 11.6b ±3.3 SB 10.4c ±2.1 9.6c ±2.6 8.7b ±3.1 7.1c ±2.4 6.8c ±1.9 All the forages had above minimum CP at wk 14. So bi had below 7% cp at wk 16 Insacco DMD % Species Week 8 Week 10 Week 12 Week 14 Week 16 CR 65.0a ±8.1 64.3a ±4.1 65.0a ±8.7 65.0a ±1.8 62.4a ±2.1 ES 69.0a ±2.4 65.2a ±2.2 61.0a±3 .3 61.2a ±1.6 60.3a ±1.6 EM 57. 6b ±11.5 57.0b ±3.1 52.0c±1.6 51.6c ±2.3 53.2c ±3.4 CC 68.1a ±2.5 69.0a ±2.3 65.0a ±4.2 63.5a ±2.7 61.3b ±3.2 CG 68.3a ±6.1 65.0a ±4.1 63.2a ±6.1 59.8b ±4.5 54.6b ±3.3 SB 59.4b ±7.1 57.8b ±2.6 57.2b ±7.5 52.1c ±2.4 47.3c ±1.9 IVDMD decreased with growth stages of the spp SB and CG declined faster with maturity CR, ES and CC showed higher D even at wk 16 Seed yields on dry matter basis (Kg/ha) of six range grass species at 80, 50, 30 % FC 1400 1200 1000 chr rox Er su 800 Enma 600 ceci chga 400 sobi 200 0 80% FC 50% FC 30% FC -So bi showed significant decline in seed yields at lower moisture levels -Ch ga and Ch rox showed higher seed yields at lower moisture levels -Ce ci had lowest yield with no significant diff in both irrigation schedules -Er su and enma had no significant difference in seed yields across the irrigation levels Returns from biomass So bi Ch ga No. of bales Sale at KES 150/bale Kg/ha No. of bales Sale at KES 150/bale 556.705 83,505.88 7932 466.588 69,988.23 Harvest at week 16 13664 803.764 120,564.70 10864 639.058 95,858.82 Kg/ha Harvest at week 12 9464 COSTS PLOUGHING 3000/HA FERTILIZER 4500/LABOUR ? TOTAL ? Returns from seed yields Kg/ha KES 600/kg SOBI 1250 750000 CHR GA 1066 639600 Number of Animal (TLU’s) to be sustained for 3 months So bi Kg/ha No. of bales Harvest at week 12 9464 Harvest at week 16 13664 Ch ga No. of animals 3 months Kg/ha No. of bales No. of animals 3 months 556.705 16 animals 7932 466.588 14 animals 803.764 24 animal 10864 639.058 19 animals Animal sustainance in a year and sales Animals kept after 3 months harvest for 3 months considering yields from 1 ha One year, productivity under irrigation-3 months harvests…. One can keep 14 animals for whole year Sales @20,000/head 1 ha=14 animals 14 animals 280,000/- 250,000 ha=3,500,000 animals 3,500,000 animals 20,000,000,000 20,000*14 Conclusion Soil moisture levels affects range grass species primary productivity differently, either positively, negatively and others not affected Seed yields of the six range grasses are also influenced by soil moisture levels There is potential for cultivation of range grasses as source of L/S feed and income. The final results out of this study will provide more insights into pragmatism of this. The range grass seeds production from irrigated pastures can also be used for rangeland rehabilitation in pastoral grazing lands to enhance sustainability of livestock production. Recommendations Irrigated pasture production should be up-scaled and establishment of fodder banks for use during harsh climatic conditions. From the preliminary results, a few species can be piloted on large scale production. These are Sorghum bicolor, Chloris gayana and Eragrostis superba. There is need for increased awareness and training on irrigated pasture cultivation in the study areas. The communities are not used to pasture production, grass seed bulking, hay baling and pasture sales and marketing.