The increasing pasture establishment under irrigation to bridge feed shortages as a result of seasonal variations has been reported in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of East Africa. The natural pastures have declined increasing need for solutions to feed deficit situations. Pasture production seems a promising venture. However, most producers involved in pasture production have been practicing monocultures of range grasses. This study seeks to evaluate the productivity of monocultures established with good quality forages compared to mixed stands. The grasses evaluated were Chloris roxburghiana (CR), Eragrostis superba (ES) Enteropogon macrostachyus (EM), Cenchrus ciliaris (CC), Chloris gayana (CG) and Sorghum sudanense (SB). The findings show that mixed stands could be advantageous in increasing biomass productivity. However, there are no differences in proximate composition, quality and digestibility between pure and mixed stands at the common harvesting stage of maturity with ripening seeds for all the six grasses evaluated. Therefore, we conclude that farmers can grow the range grasses in mixed stands to increase productivity without compromising feed value. This will also help in increasing biodiversity and reduce risks associated with monocultures.
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RUFORUM Working document series
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