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Evaluation of Some Rhodes Grass (Chloris gayana) Genotypes for Their Salt Tolerance, Biomass Yield and Nutrient Composition

The livestock productivity in Ethiopia is seriously constrained by the shortage of fodder due to increasing soil salinization. Therefore, restoration of salt-affected lands into productive soils through salt-tolerant forages and improved irrigation and crop management practices is crucial for enhancing the productivity of the livestock sector in Ethiopia. In this three-year study, pot trials were conducted to evaluate the impact of five different soil salinity levels (i.e., 0, 5, 10, 15, and 20 dS m-1) on plant growth, biomass production, and nutrient quality attributes of three Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) genotypes (ILRI-6633, ILRI-7384, CV-massaba). Increasing soil salinity negatively affected germination percentage (GP) and mean germination time (MGT) of all genotypes. For all salinity levels, the highest GP was observed for ILRI-6633 and the lowest for CV-massaba. Plant height and chlorophyll content for ILRI-6633 was higher than the other two genotypes. The crude protein (CP) content was higher in low dry matter-producing genotype (ILRI-7384). The performance of ILRI-6633 at all salinity levels was superior to the other two genotypes. CV-massaba genotype performed better under low to medium soil salinity conditions. Therefore, ILRI-6633 and CV-massaba genotypes have excellent potential to increase forage production in salt-affected areas of Ethiopia.

Ashenafi Worku Daba, Asad Sarwar Qureshi, and Bethel Nekir Nisaren
Publication type: 
Scientific Paper
Publication Source: 
Applied Sciences