Research Article

Evaluating oat cultivars for dairy forage production in the central Kenyan highlands

Published in: African Journal of Range & Forage Science
Volume 34, issue 3, 2017 , pages: 145–155
DOI: 10.2989/10220119.2017.1358214
Author(s): Solomon W MwendiaCentro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, Tropical Forages, Kenya, Brigitte L MaassCentro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, Tropical Forages, Kenya, David G NjengaInternational Fertilizer Development Center, Kenya, Fridah N NyakundiCentro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, Biometrics, Kenya, An Maria O NotenbaertCentro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, Tropical Forages, Kenya

Abstract

With the projected increase in future demand for animal products, efforts to raise animal productivity are necessary to match the rise. Already, the estimated per-capita milk consumption in Kenya has increased to 150 L from 100 L estimated in 1998 while the population is growing at 2.65% annually. Improving milk production is largely constrained by inadequate feeding, particularly from basal roughages. To contribute towards addressing this concern, five oat cultivars (Conway, Glamis, Balado, Mascani and Rhapsody) new to eastern Africa were evaluated versus a ‘Local’ check. Agronomic attributes, forage quality and farmers’ preferences were assessed in the 2015/16 growing season. Dry matter (DM) yields ranged from 5 to 22 t DM ha−1 with Conway accumulating most DM, whereas the relative feed value was in the order Balado > Mascani > Rhapsody > Conway > Glamis > Local. However, crude protein (CP) yield (kg CP ha−1) was highest in Conway and lowest in Mascani. The two most preferred cultivars by the farmers were Conway and Glamis. Based on DM and CP production, and farmers’ choice, we conclude that Conway and Glamis stand a high chance of improving forage production in the area and other similar systems.

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