Packaging practices of Guinea Grass
Authors: Taramani Yadav, Rakesh Kumar, Hardev Ram Jat


Guinea Grass

Scientific Name- Panicum maximum
Family- Poaceae
Origin- Tropical Africa

History

Guinea was brought to India on Army Farms in 1793, and was grown along with old grasses
Geographical Distribution
In India, cultivated about 1 lakh ha. in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh
Climatic Requirement
It can be grown up to an elevation of 1,800 m. It is frost sensitive
It is suitable for areas with an annual rainfall of 85-100 cm
Under rain-fed conditions, it is grown for 5-6 months during rainy season and during severe cold, this grass remains dormant
The crop performs best in warm and moist climates of tropics
It thrives between a temperature range of 15 to 38°C

Soil and its preparation

Guinea grass can be raised on all types of soil, except waterlogged soils and saline conditions
Well drained medium fertile loams are the best
It require neutral soil
It requires a fine seedbed
1-2 ploughings and harrowing require

Varieties

Vatieties

Suitable location

Green Fodder yield (t/ha)

Macueni

Kerala for rainfed conditions

60-80

Hamil

South, north east, east and central India

90-130

PGG-4, PGG-9

Hills, North-west and central India

85-130

PGG-13, PGG-14

Central India and Hills

95-140


Crop Mixture

Guinea grass can be grown mixed with cowpea, guara, and rice bean in the summer in the Northern India
It can grown mixed with leguminous fodder crops
Molasses grass and giant star grass can also be grown in association with guinea grass for covering the ground

Seed and Sowing time

It is propagated by seeds as well as stem cuttings/root slips
1.25 lakhs of slips are required
A seed rate of 3-5 kg/ha is recommended
Seeds are drilled in 45 cm rows at 1-2 cm depth
Stem cuttings or root slips are planted at 50 cm x 30 cm spacing on an irrigated soil after rains

Time of planting

Manures and fertilizers both important for guinea grass
About 20 t/ha FYM applied before one month of planting
Besides, 50-50 kg/ha N-P2O5 applied at the time of planting
After each harvest, 50 kg N/ha

Manures and Fertilizers

FYM application @ 30 t/ha at the time of land preparation is recommended
A fertilizer dose of 50-60-50 kg/ha of N-P2O5-K2O is applied as basal
After each harvest, 50 kg N/ha is applied with irrigation
BA_3599

Water management

Guinea grass needs frequent irrigations
The crop also grows well with sewage irrigation
Some varieties are mostly grown in areas with annual rainfall above 1,000 mm, while Some varieties are planted in areas with 800 mm or less
Drought tolerance varies among cultivars, although generally they do not tolerate dry periods longer than 4 or 5 months

Weed management
Weeds such as Nicandra, Argemone , Ageratum conyzoides, and Eleusine indica
Weed competition at the time of establishment
Weed management up to 45 days after sowing in crucial
Two inter cultural operations sufficient for weed control
Atrazine can be used for weed control in P. maximum at 4 L/ha.
Broadleaf weeds can be controlled using a pre-emergent spray (no wetting agent required) of 2,4-D sodium salt at 4.5 kg/ha product using a minimum of 340 L/ha of water. Young plants are susceptible to diuron at 2.5 kg/ha

Harvesting
First cut at 75 DAP and subsequent cuts at 45 days interval
The crop should be harvested at 1-15 cm above ground level
It can also be grazed by animals
In perennial types, cuttings taken up to 4-5 years

Yield
The annual green fodder yield 50-60 t/ha in 4-6 cuts (rainfed) to 80-120 t/ha in 7-9 cuts (irrigated)
Under sewage irrigation up to 200 t/ha yields in 10-12 cuts
The fodder contains 9-13% CP and 30-35% CF with 50% digestibility

About Author / Additional Info:
Ph.D research Scholar