Tropical Grasslands (2001) Volume 35, 53–57

Research note: Forage yield and chemical composition of centro (Centrosema pubescens) in the year of establishment at Shika, Nigeria


National Animal Production Research Institute, Ahmadu Bello University, Shika, Zaria, Nigeria


A field trial in subhumid Nigeria examined the effect of 4 sowing dates (June 21, July 5, July 19 and August 2), 3 phosphorus levels (0, 13 and 26kg/ha) and 4 stages of growth at harvesting (10, 12, 14 and 16 weeks post planting, WPP) on forage yield and chemical composition of centro (Centrosema pubescens). Yields of regrowth after cutting were measured in the middle of the dry season.
Forage yields at the initial harvest, yields of regrowth and total yields all decreased as planting date was delayed and increased with phosphorus application. Delaying initial harvest to 14 WPP dramatically increased forage yield (P < 0.05) while still providing a high quality product. The highest N concentrations were obtained for the July 5 sowing, fertilised with 26 kg/ha P and cut at 10 WPP. Cutting at 10 WPP resulted in the lowest Ca concentration. Phosphorus concentration was not affected (P > 0.05) by sowing date but was influenced by stage of growth and phosphorus application. The Ca : P ratio of the forage of ca. 3 : 1 was affected by sowing date and cutting stage but not by phosphorus application.

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