Genetics and breeding of forage crops
There are 331 species of forage crops were conserved at the forage cropexperimental station of LRI, including 260 species of Gramineae and 71 species of Leguminosae. The data of the agronomic and molecular traits were kept at the Genetic resource center of LRI.
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, LRI put emphasis on breeding new cultivators of napiergrass, pangolagrass, forage sorghum, nilegrass, forage corn and so on, to meet the domestic requirement of constant forage supplement and to avoid suffering of single species crop from infectious insects and diseases.
Ten cultivars of forage grasses have been bred and released by LRI, including of Napiergrass Taishi No.1 to No.5, Nilegrass Taishi No.1 to No.2, Sudangrass Taishi No.1, Forage sorghum Taishi No.1, and Forage corn Kentin No.1.
Improvement of forage management and utilization
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 proper production systems for both short-term and long-term forage have been established and recommended to farmers, which were integrated with fallow, rotation of forage and manure crops, and intercropping with legume forages.
The proper methods of harvesting, ensiling, and utilization of manure crops as forage use have also been established in order to solve the shortage of legume forages.
Evaluation and monitoring of forage quality and production
The soil characters of forage pastures in Taiwan have been entirely surveyed and the contents of heavy metals Cd and Pb in the soil of pasture all over Taiwan have been investigated. It showed that the soilof the pasture was not contaminated with heavy metals Pb and Cd in Taiwan. The data collected is very useful for the forage farmers.
Near infra-red reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) used for quick evaluation of crude protein and ADF content in forage crops have been set up. The quick evaluation of forage quality is helpful to price decision and feed formulation. The results can also help establish the grading system of hay and trade fairly.
Research Projects in Progress
There are 9 experiments included in the research project of “Improvement of forage and feed production and quality”. The abstracts of these project are as follows:
Improvement of Napiergrass cultivar
The objectives of this study are to select the elite napiergrass lines with forage yield and quality by interspecific hybridization, and by waterlogging treatment. The results so far show that the forage quality of some new lines are higher than that of CK cv. TLG3. Moreover, all the forage yields of the potential new lines are higher than that of cv. TLG3. The results of waterlogging treatment reveal that plant height, number of dry leaves, fresh weight, and forage quality are seriously affected by waterlogging.
Cultivation experiment of new Nilegrass lines
The aims of the district test of nilegras are to select the elite Nilegrass lines, and to set up the proper cultivation method for new Nilegrass lines. The results show that Nilegrass of multiline-cultivation has higher forage yield with higher CP and lower fiber content. Nilegrass cv. Taishugrass No.2(NLT2) is more resistant to the invasion of weeds and higher yield as compare to Taishugrass No.2(NLT1). The lactation performance of dairy goats fed on total mixed rations prepared by NLT2 hay or haylage is good. It is suggested that NLT2 hay or haylage might have the potential to replace the imported bermudagrass hay.
Breeding of forage corn
The objective of this project is to select the adapted forage corn variety to help develop production of domestic forage corn and herbivoreus industry. The goal of the fourth year of this project is to accomplish area trial, fertilizer and planting density trial of elite hybrid H1101 and variety named officially. Result of fertilizer trial show that fresh yield of 240 kg/ha treatment is higher than those of 120 kg/ha and 180 kg/ha applied, but no significant difference is observed in dry matter yields. The planting density trial show that the optimal planting density is 75 x15-20 cm in autumn cropping. H1101 has been named as forage corn Ken-Tin No.1 this year and has been transfered for seed production.
Production and utilization of napiergrass cv.TLG3
Objectives of this study are to determine the effects of growth stage on forage yield and qulaity of hay and silage of napiergrass cv. TLG3. The results show that the napiergrass cv. TLG3 can be harvested by a large lawn mower or napiergrass harvester to make round-baled hay and haylage with high quality at 6 weeks to 12 weeks after regrowing.
Study on renovation of perennial pasture
The objective of this study is to determine the renovation methods for perennial pasture grown more than 10 years. The different cultured methods with growing manure crops are used. Both forage yield and soil fertility are determined after different treatments. The results show that the plot planting soybean combined with cirumgyate-knife treatment produced the highest forage yield for the 1st harvest in the 2nd year. On the 2nd harvest, the forage yield of the plot planting with soybean combined with cirumgyate-knife treatment is the same as CK. The forage yield of CK is the lowest among all the treatments on 3rd, 4th and 5th harvest, respectively.
Effects of intercropping manure crop on the production and fertilization of napiergrass pasture
The objectives of this study are to evaluate the intercropping of manure crops such as, sesbania (Sesbania roxburghii), with napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum), to evaluate the effects of intercropping manure crop on the productivity of napiergrass and soil fertility of pasture. The preliminary results show that, napiergrass treated with chemical fertilizer (urea-N) has significantly higher forage yield as compared to that treated with manure or that intercroppung with manure crop. Results of soil analysis also show significant change caused by fertilizing and intercropping treatment. The effects of intercropping manure crop on the productivity of napiergrass and pasture soil fertility will be evaluated further.
Production of forage corn intercropping with soybean
The objectives of this study are to improve the nutrient quality and establish the model of sustainable production of domestic forage crops. The goals of the first year in this study are to select the intercropping combinations and patterns of forage corn with soybeans. The intercropping of forage corn (KT No. 1) with soybean Australian variety (cultivar Leichhardt) show the highest dry weight production. Soybean in alternate corn-soybean strips with four rows per crop show the highest production. However, corn in alternate corn-soybean strips with two rows per crop showed the highest production and the total dry weight production per hectare of alternate corn-soybean strips with two rows per crop is more than strips with four rows. Compared with all types of cultivated patterns, the production of soybean Australian variety intercropped with forage corn KT No. 1 in alternate corn-soybean strips with two or four rows per crop produce the forage yield similar to that of forage corn monocropping. It shows that the intercropping system might be the ideal production model for improving forage nutrient quality.
Forage yields and economic efficiency of pangolagrass mixed with forage grass and legume in northern Taiwan in winter
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