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International Research Journal of Plant Science

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The performance of six exotic perennial grass species in the central region of Saudi Arabia

Abstract

A. Al-Soqeer

The establishment, dry matter production and feeding value of six perennial grasses were measured over two growing seasons in a field experiments. The experiments were conducted at the Agricultural and Veterinary Medicine Research Station, Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Qassim University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2009 and 2010 seasons. The six perennial grasses were: Creeping bluegrass (Bothriochloa insculpta, cv Bisset), Digit grass (Digitaria smutsi), Jarra digit grass (Digitaria milanjiana), Panic (Panicum coloratum , cv Bambatsii), Sabi grass (Urochloa mosambicensis) and Setaria (Setaria sphacelata, cv Kazungula). The experimental design used was a completely randomized block design with four replications. The results revealed significant differences among plant species of all agronomic characters and quality traits in the first year, while in the second year, plant species were differed significantly for quality traits only. D. smutsi had a superior performance for all agronomic characters, however, it had the lowest values in protein content in the two years comparing with other genotypes. D. milanjiana and U. mosambicensis showed high values in dry matter yield and protein content in the first year, but showed a very poor performance in the second year because most of plants were die due to the low temperatures in the winter. These two species appear to be suitable for annual cultivation. The other species tolerate the cold winter and were a highly productive in the second year.

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