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Kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum)

  • Description :
    • A robust perennial creeping species which develops thick closely noded runners both below and on the soil surface.
  • Climate :
    • Subtropical / tropical
  • Moisture Requirements :
    • 760mm + per annum
  • Soil Preference
    • Does well on rich fertile soils.
    • Well drained, aerated soils are recommended.
    • Heavy clay soils are also suitable.
    • If fertilized well, soil is usually not a serious limiting factor.
  • Sowing Rate
    • Rows : 180mm : 2 – 3 kg / ha
    • Broadcast : 6 – 10 kg / ha
  • Planting Time :
    • September – February (seed)
    • September – May (vegetative propogation)
  • Planting Method :
    • A fine evenly cultivated land is a prerequisite for seed establishment.
  • Management :
    • Soil analysis is essential for determining the correct amounts of P & K to be applied.
    • Large amounts of nutrients are removed from the soil by Kikuyu.
    • If the pasture is heavily grazed, large amounts of P & K are recycled through the dung and urine.
    • This should reduce the amounts of P & K required.
    • Where initial ploughdown fertilization has been applied after an analysis, the following annual amounts of
      • P & K required are :
        • P : 200kg / ha – superphosphate
        • K : 100kg / ha – KCL
    • Annual N application levels vary from 500 – 750 kg / ha during the summer months.
    • Depends largely on rainfall or the availability of irrigation.
  • Advantages
    • Very palatable pasture if well fertilized.
    • Has a high carrying capacity potential
      • 5 LAU / ha (September – January)
      • 3 LAU / ha (June – September)
    • Average dry matter production is 10 – 12 tons / ha while 18 tons / ha of dry matter is possible.
    • Crude protein content varies from 8% in winter to 18% in summer
    • TDN = 60 – 70% depending on the maturity of the pasture
    • A very important summer grazing pasture, particularly in Natal
  • Limitations
    • High producing pasture and an expensive luxury if not properly utilized.
 
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