Effect of fertilizer type and plant spacing on plant morphological characteristics, yield and chemical composition of desho grass (Pennisetumpedicellatum Trin.) in Northwestern Ethiopia

B.Mihret1, B. Asmare2, Y. Mekuriaw2


1Awi Zone, Department of Agriculture, Injibara,Ethiopia

2Department of Animal Production and Technology, P.O.Box 5501, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia


(Manuscript received 19 January 2018; accepted for publication 4 April  2018)


Abstract. The experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of fertilizer type and plant spacing on morphological characteristics, yield and nutritive value of desho grass.The study compared three type of fertilizer and three type of between plant spacing on the performance of desho grass. The data collected from the study were morphological parameters including plant height (PH), leaf length per plant (LLPP), number of leaves per plant (NLPP), number of tillers per plant (NTPP), number of roots per plant (NRPP) and root length per plant (RLPP), biomass yield and chemical composition including crude protein (CP), organic matter (OM), neutral detergentfibre (NDF), acid detergent fibre(ADF) and acid detergent lignin (ADL) of the grass as well as yield parameters crude protein yield (CPY)and dry matte yield (DMY) were collected. The result indicated that all morphological parameters were significantly affected (P<0.05) by the type of fertilizer. Among chemical composition parameters CP, ash, NDF, ADF, ADLand yield parameters CPY and DMYwere significantly different (P<0.05) due to both factors. However, DM content was not affected (P>0.05) by effect of fertilizer and plant spacing. The highest CPcontent was observed (10.95%) for chemical fertilizer and least value (9%) for non-fertilized grass. The result revealed that the maximum biomass yield and improved quality can be obtained using NPS fertilizer if it is accessible by smallholder farmers. However, if the NPS is not accessible, the use of manure could be an alternative to produce good quality desho fodder with optimum yield. With regard to plant spacing, the intermediate plant spacing can be best to obtain optimum biomass in the study area. Overall, this study implied that desho grass can be planted with available fertilizer and proper spacing recommendable since it has shown good result for yield and quality of the desho grass in the study area and similar agro-ecologies.