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Cayman

Cayman is a Brachiaria hybrid variety. It is a high yielding and nutritious perennial forage grass that is suitable for large and small ruminants for increased beef and milk production. Produced an average of 42 t/ha of dry forage biomass on an annual basis (three harvests) under bimodal season rainfed conditions in Kenya. The leafy, vigorous, medium height (80-100 cm) grass is drought tolerant and is well adapted to low fertility, acidic and poorly drained soil conditions in the tropics and subtropics.

Characteristic/ management Remarks
Growth habit It produces high quantities of forage biomass. Has high capacity to tiller, some of which under high soil moisture conditions adopt semi-decumbent growth that enable further development of tillers and roots at the nodes which contribute to its ability to tolerate poorly drained soils and short-term flooding
Seed requirement and placement Seed rate: 5-7.5 kg/ha (spaced out planting) and 10-12 kg/ha (broadcast planting or zero tillage). Plant seed at 1-1.5 cm depth and cover lightly with soil
Soil fertility requirement Intermediate to high. Will also do well in low fertility soils
Adaptation to acidic soils High
Tolerance to drought and high temperatures in the field Good
Shade tolerance Also grows well in semi-shade conditions (50-70% sunlight) between plantation crops such as, coconuts, coffee and fruit trees.
Maturity period 10-12 weeks (days to first grazing/cut after germination); 6-8 weeks (days to subsequent cuts).
Utilization options Can be directly grazed on or cut and carried to livestock. Can be preserved in the form of hay or silage. Makes high quality hay and silage
Palatability High
Digestibility High
Protein content Up to 17%
Utilization management 25 cm (minimum height for animals to exit paddock under direct grazing); 5 cm stubble height for cut and carry systems)
Utilization frequency 25-30 days (rotational grazing); 42-56 days (cut and carry)
Persistence in the field Has high persistence. Has high regeneration capacity. Has been shown to maintain over 83% soil cover even four years after establishment