Universal Journal of Agricultural Research Vol. 5(6), pp. 355 - 362
DOI: 10.13189/ujar.2017.050607
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Effect of Grass-legume Intercropping on Dry Matter Yield and Nutritive Value of Pastures in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa


Unathi Gulwa 1,*, Nobulungisa Mgujulwa 1, Solomon T Beyene 2
1 Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Dohne Agriculture Development Institute (ADI), South Africa
2 Department of Livestock and Pasture Science, University of Fort Hare, South Africa

ABSTRACT

The Eastern Cape Province, South Africa is faced with inadequate quantity of livestock feed especially during the drier (winter) seasons. Forage legumes were over sown into natural grasses to determine their potential to improve feed quality and quantity. Four forage legumes namely: Trifolium vesiculosum (Arrowleaf clover), Lespedeza cuneata (sericea lespedeza) , Trifolium repens (white clover) and Lotus corniculatus (birdsfoot trefoil) were intercropped with native grasses in the old arable land located in Lushington communal area in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. The treatments consisted of natural grasses growing in pure stands and native grasses intercropped with forage legumes grown under rain-fed conditions. Grasses and legumes were harvested for dry matter yield (DMY) once in spring 2013 (September - November), summer 2014 (December-February), autumn 2014 (March-May) and winter 2014 (June -August). Amongst the legumes, L. cuneata was more (P<0.05) productive than rest of the legumes. However, T. vesiculosum was the least (P <0.05) productive legume during the four seasons. Total dry matter (TDM) yield was higher (P<0.05) during summer and lower during winter seasons, respectively. Grasses harvested in autumn had the highest (P<0.05) 12% crude protein (CP) than those harvested in winter which, had the lowest 4.6% CP content. Similarly, all legume pastures harvested in spring had superior (p<0.05) 10.8% CP, while those harvested in winter had the least 3.5% CP. Likewise, forages harvested during the wet seasons (i.e. autumn and or summer) had improved (P < 0.05) herbage micro nutrient content than those harvested in the drier (winter) season. Results of the study indicated that overall total dry matter yield of grass-legume mixtures was higher than that of sole natural grasses, with grasses constituting the major component of the herbage yield. Results from this study also indicated that forages produced in wetter seasons had superior biomass yield and nutritive value, respectively.

KEYWORDS
Total Dry Matter Yield, Dry Matter Yield, Crude Protein, Dry Matter Production

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Unathi Gulwa , Nobulungisa Mgujulwa , Solomon T Beyene , "Effect of Grass-legume Intercropping on Dry Matter Yield and Nutritive Value of Pastures in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa," Universal Journal of Agricultural Research, Vol. 5, No. 6, pp. 355 - 362, 2017. DOI: 10.13189/ujar.2017.050607.

(b). APA Format:
Unathi Gulwa , Nobulungisa Mgujulwa , Solomon T Beyene (2017). Effect of Grass-legume Intercropping on Dry Matter Yield and Nutritive Value of Pastures in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Universal Journal of Agricultural Research, 5(6), 355 - 362. DOI: 10.13189/ujar.2017.050607.