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CAU successfully tests hybrid Napier Grass for use as fodder

 Source: Chronicle News Service / Premchand Thongam

Imphal, August 31 2021: In a bid to encourage livestock, poultry and fish farmers, who feel demoralised due to high price of feeds, Central Agricultural University (CAU), Imphal has successfully conducted experiments on planting hybrid Napier Grass and feeding them to cattle, poultry and fish.

Speaking to The People's Chronicle in an exclusive interview, All India Coordinated Research Project on Forage Crops principal investigator and scientist Dr R Joseph Koireng explained that the hybrid Napier Grass is an inter-specific hybrid product of crossbreeding Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) and Bajra (Pennisetum Typhoides).

It is generally, known as Ba-jra-Napier Hybrid or Elephant grass.

The experiment was conducted keeping in view of the hardships faced by farmers in procuring processed feeds for cattle, pig, fish and poultry, and the experiment is a success, he said.

Grass carp loves this grass and cattle, pig and poultry also favour it if cut and mixed with other materials like Chengkup with the grass in greater proportion.

It will provide a major financial relief to farmers, Dr R Joseph assured.

He further said that the grass survives for four to five years once planted and it grows abundantly during monsoon season.

One can cut the grass six to seven times a year and it can become a major replacement for commercial feeds, he added.

The experiment began about three years ago and around five types of Napier grasses are planted in the CAU campus.

The types are CO-3, CO-4, C05, CO-6, RBN-9, BNH-11 and Super Napier.

All types are suitable for fish while CO-4, CQ-5 and Super Napier are suitable for pig and poultry.

Napier grass has around 8 to 12 per cent of crude protein and 26-28 per cent crude fibre.

It also has 55-58 per cent digestive nutrients.

One has to cut the stem and leaves of the grass at around 45 days while they are still soft for feeding.

It can grow easily and 150 tonnes of grass can be yielded from one hectare of farmland.

A farmer can bring down feed expenditure by around 70 to 75 per cent if they use the grass.

Mixing ratio of Napier grass, Chengkup and concentrated feed should be 6:4:1.One can also plant the grass at the banks of fish farm ponds, Dr R Joseph added.

The university is taking up initiatives to popularise Napier Grass among the farmers of the state and some farmers, who have successfully participated in the experiment, are welcoming the initiative, he said.