By Agnes Nantambi
As the rain season continue to advance, to allow farmers plant and improve pastures, A forage Scientists Dr. Jolly Kabirizi has advised farmers on how to gain from pasture seed or cutting. This he said is the only way to avoid disappointment in growing pastures.
He believes that for any farmer to gain from pasture seeds, he or she need to get them from reliable sources in order to produce feeds for their cattle (beef & dairy), goats, rabbits among others.
According to Dr. Kabirizi, Pasture is a basal diet for ruminants of which one should take note of the following when buying the seeds for planting materials:
He advises that in order for one to realise positive results, he should Buy pasture seeds like. Lablab or cuttings of Napier grass from a reliable source.
“Many farmers have lost money because they buy poor quality pasture seeds from people who are just interested in making money.
Poor quality seed will lead to poor and prolonged pasture establishment yet good pasture seed should have a good germination percentage, “he said.
He says that one should make sure that they know the type or the variety of pasture seed they want to buy, noting that Some people sell pasture seed mixed with other species, sawdust and sand while others send wrong seed to you.
He adds that if buying such seeds, a farmer has to Request the person selling to provide information on recommended agronomic practices.
These includes, seed rate, spacing, sowing depth, seed treatment, sowing methods (row planting vs broadcasting or intercropping with food crops such as maize & lablab), fertilizer requirements; pest & disease control, management, utilization among others.
The forage scientist advise that one has to Seek advice from extension staff, fellow farmers or researchers on recommended pasture seed species and seed rate for the area where one plan to plant the pastures.
Giving an example of a farmer who was advised to buy 30kgs/acre of Chloris Gayana at shs 60,000 @ kg. because she wanted to establish 50 acres of pastures and Another farmer who was advised to buy 20 bags per acre of Napier grass cuttings at shs50,000 per bag.
According to him, Seed rate depends on many factors such as the variety, sowing method like row planting vs broadcasting, seed variety, intended use like seed multiplication, grazing system and other factors.
Good forage legume seed according to Dr. Kabirizi should have a germination percentage of over 70% and a pasture grass seed like Chloris Gayana (Rhodes grass) should have a minimum germination percentage of 30%. This he said determines the percentage of seeds that are alive in any seed lot.
“The level of germination in association with seed vigour provides a very good estimate of the potential field performance,” he said.