Forage potential of dwarf napiergrass and a pearl millet x napiergrass hybrid

G. J. Cuomo, D. C. Blouin, J. F. Beatty

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6 Scopus citations


Napiergrass [Pennisetum purpureum (L.) Schum.] and pearl millet [Pennisetum americanum (L.) Leeke; syn. Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R, Br.] x napiergrass (PMN) hybrids have potential to fill a forage production void during fall months in the southeastern USA. In a 2-yr study, 'Mott' dwarf napiergrass, a PMN hybrid, and pearl millet were harvested five, four, and three times per year. Objectives were to evaluate forage mass production and distribution, persistence, and forage nutritive value of these Pennisetum spp. Season total forage mass was less for pearl millet (13.2 Mg ha-1) than for napiergrass (17.5 Mg ha-1) and the PMN hybrid (18.9 Mg ha-1). Forage mass differences were the result of napiergrass producing 4.0 Mg ha- 2 and the PMN hybrid 5.4 Mg ha-2 during the fall months. Pearl millet produced no herbage during this time. Leaf percent of fall regrowth was greater for napiergrass (90%) than for the PMN hybrid (56%) when averaged over years. Generally, forage nutritive value was similar among species in this study; however, napiergrass had higher crude protein (CP) (136 g kg- 1) than pearl millet (127 g kg-1) or the PMN hybrid (123 g kg-1). Napiergrass was the only species to perennate in this study. There were no differences for number of napiergrass tillers in early spring among harvest management treatments. All Pennisetum spp. produced large amounts of forage through late summer; however, napiergrass and the PMN hybrid continued to grow and produce forage until frost and have the potential to fill the fall forage deficit in the southeast USA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-438
Number of pages5
JournalAgronomy Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996


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