The Impact of Harvest Frequency on Herbage Yield and Quality of Cynodon nlemfuensis
Ruminants in Ghana experience feed deficit in the dry season leading to loss of weight and condition. To curb this problem of weight loss, there is the need to raise their plain of nutrition in the critical months of the year when feed is low in quantity and quality. This can be achieved by maximising forage production through appropriate harvest management practices. This study sought to find the effect of repeated harvest on dry matter (DM) yield of Cynodon nlemfuensis (Cynodon) in the coastal savanna of Ghana. It was hypothesised that infrequent repeated harvest will improve DM yield and nutritive value of Cynodon. An area of 7.0 m by 5.5 m was used for a two year study (2013 and 2014). The treatments were harvest of Cynodon at 24 (T1), 12 (T2) and 6 (T3) weeks intervals. The Randomised Complete Block Design was used with four replicates per treatment. Dry matter yield and plant cell wall constituents viz. NDF, ADF and Cellulose contents decreased significantly (P < 0.05) in the order T3<T2<T1, indicating that DM yield and plant cell wall constituents decreased with increasing harvest frequency. Crude protein content (CP) decreased significantly (P < 0.05) in the order T1<T2<T3, indicating that CP content increased with increasing harvest frequency. The study has shown that repeated harvest of Cynodon provided lower DM yield of better quality, with harvest at six weeks interval exceeding the minimum CP level required for adequate intake and digestibility by ruminant livestock.