Effect of crop mixing on forage yield and quality of selected grasses and legumes in the Gezira, Sudan

Ali E. Hussain1, Ali S. Gangi, Ibrahim E. Mohamed

Abstract


The study was conducted at the Gezira University Farm, Wad Medani, Sudan, during the winter of 1998 and autumn of 1999 to investigate the effects of 15 cropping systems on the quantity and quality of the forage produced by three forage grasses and three forage legumes. In both seasons, sorghum cultivars (Abu Sabeen, Pioneer and Speed Feed) as well as the three legumes (cowpea, lubia and phillipesara) and their mixtures flowered in about 60 days from sowing, except lubia in the second season (July sowing) which grew vegetatively throughout the total period without flowering. Winter sowing outyielded autumn sowing in both quantity and quality attributes. Most mixtures had no significant effect on the number of tillers/plant, number of main branches/plant and plant height. Mixing showed no significant effect on plant height of the legumes in the winter season, but increased that of cowpea and lubia in the autumn season. Mixing decreased cowpea, lubia and phillipesara plant dry weight specially in the autumn season. In both seasons, mixtures outyielded the sole crops. The highest yielding mixture (8.30 t/ha) was that of Speed Feed + lubia with a seed rate ratio of 12.5:12.5 kg/fed and 6.72 t/ha for pioneer + lubia with a seed rate ratio of 12.5:12.5 kg/fed in winter and autumn, respectively. The total crude protein of all mixtures exceeded that of the monocrops. The highest crude protein content was recorded with pure lubia, while the highest for the sorghums was scored by pioneer in both seasons. Grasses showed more fibre content and more total dry matter when compared to legumes.


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