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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Buffalo Grass



Buffalo Grass (Paspalum conjugatum) is a common grass found in Malaysia as 'field grass'. It was considered as 'WEED' in agricultural defination due to its competition with the odinary crops. This grass easily gow in the farms, roadside, river bankd, ban, vacant area and football field. The grass are used as source of food for most ruminants such as goats, sheeps, cow, buffalo and many others in Malaysia. This article I talk about buffalo grass or local people called 'Rumput Kerbau'.

The origin and geographic distribution of this grass are originally from the American tropics in which Paspalum conjugatum is naturalized throughout South-East Asia and in many tropical countries of the world. It is abundant in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Pacific Islands. Today the importance of this grass as a commercial commodity are among potential industry in Malaysia. There are about 300 hectare of this grass has been grown especially in Johor Bahru and Klang Valley area. The high demand of this graas for football field, new housing estates, highway and roadside tablw, new open field area increasing tremendously. I meet few grass operator and they proced at RM 2.00 - RM 4.00 per sq feet.

Description
A vigorous, creeping perennial with long stolons, rooting at nodes, with culms ascending to erect, 40-80(-100) cm tall, branching, solid, slightly compressed. Leaf-sheath stronglycompressed, usually 30-50 mm long, ciliate on the margins; ligule collar-shaped, about 1 mm long; leaf-blade linear or lanceolate-acuminate, 8-20 cm x 5-12 mm, glabrous to sparsely pubescent. Inflorescence well exerted with two or occasionally three diverging racemes, 7-16 cm long; spikelets solitary, imbricate, flattened ovate, up to 2 mm long, with long hairs on the margins; lower glume absent, upper glume with a fringe of long hairs (1 mm) along its margin. Caryopsis broadly ovoid, plano-convex, about 1 mmlong, dark brown.

Products & uses
Paspalum conjugatum is used as a forage for grazing or in cut-and-carry systems, and is rated as a very important natural pasture grass in coconut plantations. It is occasionally used as a lawn grass and is also regarded as an important weed in rice and plantation crops. The Iban of Borneo use leaf decoctions in the treatment of wounds and sores, and in the Sepik area of Papua New Guinea crushed spikelets are used for the same purpose (Manidool 1992).

Properties
At the pre-flowering stage, the N concentration in P. conjugatum ranges from 1-2.2%. It is stated that only the young stage of the grass is suitable for grazing since the fruits tend to stick in the throats of livestock and choke them. The presence of a haemostatic glucoside, which reduced the time for blood clotting by 50%, has been reported for this species. Wet fruits may become very irritating as they easily stick to one's legs and clothing.

Ecology
P. conjugatum grows from near sea-level up to 1,700 m altitude in open to moderately shaded places. It is adapted to humid climates. It is found growing gregariously under plantation crops and also along stream banks, roadsides and in disturbed areas. In the wild this grass able to suvive at lowline are and shaded. Mostly grows well in the wet and humid area and the long root able to sustain this grass during long dry period. The dense growth able to srop other grass to compete with this grass in term of space, sunlight, plant nutrients, water and others. The broadleaf easy to grow eventhough the leaves cut every alternate weeks for field mwntainance.

Soil requirements
P. conjugatum is adapted to a wide range of soils.

Propagation and planting
P. conjugatum is propagated from prostate culms, using 2-3 nodes per cutting.

Common names
Buffalo grass, carabao grass, sour paspalum (En). Indonesia: jampang pahit (Sundanese), paitan (Javanese), klamaran (Madura). Malaysia: rumput kerbau, rumput ala negri.Philippines: kulape (Tagalog), kauat-kauat (Visaya), kalo-kawayan (Ilokano). Thailand: ya-nomnon, ya-hep (southern).

Growth and development
The germination percentage of P. conjugatum seed is usually low. Flowering commences 4-5 weeks after seedling emergence and it continues to flower year round. New shoots develop at every rooted node.

Performance
Close grazing is required to keep P. conjugatum in palatable stage as palatability declines rapidly after flowering. It is eaten more readily by water buffaloes than by cattle. In a mixture with Imperata cylindrica, it will dominate the latter if the pasture is grazed heavily. Close cutting and heavy grazing are recommended since it is tolerant of defoliation, and because this prevents seed head maturity, resulting in higher quality regrowth. Cut feed can be conserved as hay. Under a coconut plantation without any fertilizer a yield of 19 t/ha of green material has been obtained. Yield increased to 30 t/ha of green material following application of 15-15-15 N:P:K fertilizer at 310 kg/ha.


By

M Anem

Putrajaya

Malaysia

Saturday

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