Tropical Grasslands (2001) Volume 35, 11–18

Maximising seed yield and seed quality of Paspalum atratum through choice of harvest method

C. PHAIKAEW1, P. PHOLSEN2, S. TUDSRI3, E. TSUZUKI4, H. NUMAGUCHI4 and Y. ISHII4

1Animal Nutrition Division, Department of Livestock Development, Bangkok, Thailand
2Khon Kaen Animal Nutrition Research Center, Khon Kaen, Thailand
3Faculty of Agriculture, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand
4Faculty of Agriculture, Miyazaki University, Miyazaki, Japan

Abstract

A 3-year trial (1996–1998) was conducted to determine the most suitable method of hand-harvesting Paspalum atratum seed in north-east Thailand. The trial was arranged in a randomised complete block design with 4 replications, comparing 6 methods of seed harvesting: T1 — Seed heads shaken every 3 days into a large seednet receptacle; T2 — Seed heads covered with a nylon net bag , with an outlet to collect the seed; T3 — A nylon net receptacle placed under the seed heads for 3 weeks after 50% seed head emergence; T4, T5 and T6 — Seed heads cut 10, 15 and 20 days after 50% seed head emergence, respectively.
Highest seed yields were obtained from T2 and T3 in all years, and these treatments also gave the highest seed quality. This was due to high levels of seed recovery on these treatments, despite serious adverse effects of flooding in the second year, and drought in the third year. Of the less intensive methods, T5 gave the highest seed yields, but required a high level of precision in determining optimum harvest date. Early harvesting resulted in immature, low quality seed, whereas when harvesting was delayed, a high proportion of seed had already been shed. Averaged over the 3 years, seed yield increased by 23 kg/ha/day by delaying harvesting from 10 days to 15 days after 50% seed head emergence, but then decreased by 57 kg/ha/day by further delay to 20 days after 50% seed head emergence.

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