Forage crops which are conserved at the Institute
and partly at the National Plant Genetic Resources Center reach a total of 331
species, including 261 species of Gramineae and 71 species of Leguminosae. The
main forage crops grown in Taiwan are pangolagrass (Digitaria decumbens) and
napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum). Pangolagrass can be used to make hay and
silage while napiergrass mainly provides green chop and silage. In recent years,
the Institute put emphasis on breeding new cultivators of napiergrass,
pangolagrass, forage sorghum, nilegrass and so on, to avoid suffering of single
species crop from infectious insects and diseases. Further, more species of
forage crops recommended can meet the local requirement of constant forage
supplement. The main achievements of studies are as follows: (1) A dwarf
napiergrass with smooth and hairless leaves and stems, and good quality was bred
for grazing and named after "Napiergrass Taishi No.1" (2) Another tall type
napiergrass with few hairs on leaf bread as well as leaf sheath and high forage
yield averaging 270 mt/ha a year was bred for soilage and silage, and named
after "Napiergrass Taishi No. 2." It contributes very much to provide forage for
dairy cows. (3) Sudangrass Taishi No. 1 was bred for high protein content of up
to 8-10%, low in cyanic acid, great resistantance to target leaf spot disease.
It is used not only for green chop but also for making silage of high quality.
It produces fresh forage about 40 mt/ha per cutting with 2-3 cuttings on ration
per year. At present, the Institute carries out the breeding of forage crops
including pangolagrass and also nilegrass. Through the procedures of
introduction, tissue culture and induced mutation,
the preliminary trials found a promising pangolagrass strain with resistance
to rust disease and potential high yield as well as good quality. Nilegrass with
good forage quality will be a potential forage for production in the
The effects of environmental factors on reserved
nutrient and regrowth ability of napiergrass and pangolagrass were studied in
order to determine the proper cutting stage and the height of the stubble left
for fast regrowth. The regrowth rate after cutting was determined by measuring
leaf area and photosynthetic ability of leaf. Further studies on planting
density, fertilizer application, and effects of long-term application of animal
manures in pastures were also undertaken. The proper methods of planting and
management of forage crops were recommended to farmers for producing forages
with high forage yield and quality.
The production of pangolagrass from planting to hay
making including cutting, tedding, windrowing and baling can be operated and
completed by machine. There are two kinds of hay: one is rectangular bale,
weighing around 15~20 kg each, and the other is round bale, weighing about 300
kg each. The round bale operation can improve the efficiency. As it is more
flexible and convenient in making silage and haylage, providing forage for the
preparation of TMR feeds becomes easier, and eventually year-round supply of
forage can be kept stable. In addition, near infra-red reflectance spectroscopy
(NIRS) is used for quick evaluation of crude protein and ADF content in
pangolagrass. The quick evaluation of forage quality is helpful to price
decision and feed formulation.
A weather station was set up at the Institute. All
the weather data are automatically recorded and transmitted to the Central
Weather Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications. The recorded data
are compiled and made available to the staff at the Institute and the other
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