Where do I get brachiaria seed?
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How do I plant brachiaria seed?
Could be direct seeded in the field or initially sown in the nursery to first raise seedlings. Whether establishing through direct seeding or using seedlings, it is important that the plants are spaced out so as to enable the plants to tiller properly. Depending on the potential of an area, inter row spacing could vary between 30 and 60 cm while spacing from plant to plant within rows could be 25-30 cm. One to two plants per hill should be sufficient for good establishment. Sufficient moisture in the soil at the time of planting in the field or nursery is essential for good germination.
How do I sow in the nursery?
Sow in well prepared nursery beds with soil broken down to a fine tilth. The soil can be mixed with well decomposed manure to increase the overall fertility of the soil for good seedling growth. The seed can be evenly broadcast over the bed then lightly covered with soil using a rake or the twig of a tree. The seed could alternatively be drilled into shallow furrows (placed 1-2 cm deep and the furrows spaced 7.5-10 cm apart) and then lightly covered with soil. Once the seed has been sown, the beds should be lightly covered using dry grass or straw to protect the planted seed from being splashed by irrigation water or rain drops. The nursery bed sown with seed should be kept sufficiently moist through hand watering if there is insufficient rains at the time of planting. The grass straw should be removed as soon as the seedlings begin to emerge (which should be about 5-7 days after planting). Maintain the nursery with sufficient moisture to enable fast growth of the seedlings. The seedlings should be ready for transplanting 4-5 weeks after sowing in the nursery.
What quantity of seed do I need to plant in the nursery to cover one acre of land?
Two kilos should be enough to cover one acre. Field establishment using seedlings initially raised in a nursery has better efficiency in seed use.
How long does the brachiaria hybrids take to mature?
10-12 weeks after planting initial establishment and 6-8 weeks for subsequent harvests provided sufficient to sustain good growth. To get the best nutritional quality the grasses should not be left in the field for too long before harvesting.
What fodder preservation methods are suitable for this grass?
These grasses can be preserved in the form of hay or ensiled
Do these brachiaria grasses have any pests and disease challenges?
Yes. In some areas sorghum shoot fly attack manifested in the form of shoot die back may be observed at the early seedling stages in the nursery or in the field especially for late planted crops. Where observed insecticide sprays or dust applied in the whorls of the plants should control the fly.
How long do these grasses take after establishment in the field?
If properly managed the brachiaria varieties can last in the field for five years or more. Key in practices in their management include keeping the field weed free especially at the initial stages of establishment, observing proper harvesting practices which include taking care that the grasses are not cut too low on the ground in case of cut and carry systems or grazed on too low in the case of graze on systems. Any harvest or grazing should leaves grass stubs of at least 10-12.5 cm (4-5 inches)
What size of land should one plant for a given number of dairy cows or beef cattle?
Depends on the daily feed demand of the individual animals one is keeping. The daily feed demand can be calculated in consultation with an animal nutrition expert and this should be done at the time one is planning on fodder production to meet the farm’s requirements.