Altitude: Napier grass can be grown at altitudes of up to 2,000 meters above sea level.
Climate: The grass performs best in high rainfall areas, over 1500 mm per year. It is drought
tolerant and can be used as dry season reserve.
Soil Requirements: Napier grass grows best on deep, fertile, well-drained soils. The soil must be wet at the root zone, but not stagnat for the plant to grow well. The protein content of Napier grass is reduced when cultivated on poor soils. Napier grass does not perform well in waterlogged or flood-prone fields. Soils should have pH levels ranging between 5 and 8 for superior Napier growth.
Land Preparation: Although Napier grass is aggressive and perennial in nature, competing very well with most weeds, it becomes well established in perfect stands only if planted in a thoroughly well prepared seed bed. On new land or land that has been out of cultivation for some years, several ploughings may be necessary. This procedure of ploughing and should be
repeated once, twice or more times if necessary.
Soil Testing: A soil test should be done before sowing in order to correct any mineral deficiencies.
Propagation of Napier Grass: Napier grass can be stem cuttings or splits. Some farmers plant whole stems.
(a) Stem Cuttings
Well-developed cuttings are best, not less than 3 or 4 months of age and not older than 8 to 12 months. A sharp knife should be used to cut the bottom part of young Napier grass stems into pieces.
Stretch out a rope across the plot to make sure you have a straight line. Two of the nodes are buried in the soil and one is above the ground. A 90cm inter-row spacing is recommended.
Plant them at an angle of about 30 degrees into the ground. Plant at the beginning of the main (reliable) rainy season. The buds of the cuttings should face up and should not be damaged. Napier grass cuttings planted in rows at Itungo Pastures, Wakiso district
(b) Roots Splits
When using splits, the Napier grass stem is cut at ground level to remove all the green material. Dig up the clump of roots and shoots growing under the ground. Separate each seedling from the clump ensuring that each seedling has both roots and a shoot. Trim the roots to about 5 cm long before planting the seedlings in small holes. Cover the roots with soil, but leave the shoots open to the air.
Fertilizer Application: The amount of fertilizer to be applied is dependent on soil fertility (soil analysis report). One bag of 50 kg NPK (20:20:0) is needed at planting time per acre. Alternatively a spade full of farmyard manure can be applied in the planting hole. For top dressing, at least two 50 kg of NPK rationed at 20:20:0 per acre is needed at the middle of the long rains. Another two 50 kg bags of NPK 20:20:0 should also be applied at the onset of short rains. Slurry, a mixture of dung and urine can be applied immediately after harvesting in a furrow along the rows of Napier and covered with soil as weeding is done.