Effect of different spacing of Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) intercropped with or without Lablab (Lablab purpureus) on digestibility of Napier grass


  • Usman Semman Mohammed Adami Tulu Agricultural Research Center, P.O. Box 35, Ziway, Ethiopia
  • Getachew Animut Haramaya University, School of Animal and Range Sciences, P.O. Box 138 Dire Dawa, Ethiopia
  • Mengistu Urge Haramaya University, School of Animal and Range Sciences, P.O. Box 138 Dire Dawa, Ethiopia


Napier grass, LabLab, Digestibility, Soil


This study was conducted with an objective of determining effect of three spacing of Napier grass intercropped with or without Lablab (Lablab purpureus) on digestibility of Napier grass in a 2 x 3 factorial arrangement in RCBD with 4 blocks. Spacing was 1m x 0.5m, 0.75m x 0.5m, and 0.5m x 0.5m. Intercropping decreased the electro conductivity but increased the available phosphorous content of the soil and did not affect the pH, organic carbon and total nitrogen of the soil. The in vitro DM (IVDMD) and OM digestibility (IVOMD) of Napier grass was increased by intercropping with lablab. However, spacing and interaction of spacing with intercropping did not affect the IVDMD and IVOMD content of Napier grass. In sacco degradability of DM and OM of Napier grass for many of the incubation hours including 48 hour which was relatively higher for the 1m x 0.5m spacing and for the one intercropped with lablab. The DM and OM in sacco degradability characteristics were almost all affected by spacing and intercropping but without an apparent consistent trend. In conclusion, intercropping with lablab had a positive influence on the IVDMD and IVOMD. Conversely, spacing failed to have significant impact on these parameters. However, 1 m x 0.5 m spacing appeared to have better effect on the in sacco DM and OM degradability and effective degradability. As such 1 m x 0.5m spacing and intercropping with lablab can be of a better choice based on the results of this study.


Ahmed, H., Abule, E., Mohammed, K., Treydte, A.C., 2010. Livestock feed resources utilization and management as influenced by altitude in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia. Livest. Res. Rural. Dev., http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd/22/12/cont2212.htm.

Anthony, W., 2006. Lablab fact sheet for grain and graze. Tropical forages: An interactive selection tool. CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries (Qld), Centro International de Agricultural Tropical (CIAT) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Australia and the University of New England.

AOAC, 1990. Official methods of analysis of association of official analytical chemists (15th edition), Washington, DC.

Basweti, E., Hanson, J., Asebe Abdena, 2009. Evaluation of productivity and nutritional quality of a range of tropical grasses, Zwai, Ethiopia.

Center for new crops and plant products, 2002. Pennisetum purpureum K. Schumach. Perdue University.http://hort:perdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Pennisetum_purpurium.html.45p.

Cottenie, A., 1980. Soil and plant testing as a basis of fertilizer recommendations. FAO soils bulletin 38/2, FAO, Rome.

Deb, P.D., Al, H., Marty, J., 1995. A guide to soil sampling and analysis on the national forests of the inland Northwest United States. United States Department of Agriculture. Forest Service Intermountain Research Station. General Technical Report INT-GTR-326.

Driven, L., Robert, B., Cate, B., Nelson, L.A., 1973. Discontinuous model for rapid correlation, interpretation and utilization of soil analysis and fertilizer response data. International soil fertility evaluation and improvement program technical bulletin No.7.

Hanson, J., Peters, M., 2003. Meeting the need for herbage seeds in developing countries. In: Loch D.S. (Ed). Proceedings of the fifth International Herbage Seed Conference, Herbage seeds in the new millennium – new markets, new products, new opportunities.

ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute), 2001. ILRI 2000-2001: Deciphering the code of life to benefit the poor. ILRI, Nairobi, Kenya, 22-25.

ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute), 2013. Getting superior Napier grass to dairy farmers in East Africa. Napier Grass Stunt and Smut Project. http://bit.ly/Qfts3v. Int. Livest. Res. Instit., www.ilri.org/foragediversity.

ILRI, 2010a. Information leaflet on livestock feeds and feeding technologies for small-scale farmers. Report of World Food Prize Borlaug-Ruan Intern, Trisha Collins.

ILRI, 2010b. Napier or elephant grass ILRI 14984 (Pennisetum purpureum) for livestock feed on small-scale farms. Information leaflet on livestock feeds and feeding technologies for small-scale farmers. Fodder Adoption Project fodderadoption.wordpress.com.

Jeans, N., Yolande, J.P., 2007. Prediction of digestibility of organic matter and energy in the growing pig from an in vitro method. Anim. Feed. Sci. Technol., 134(2007), 211-222. 251.

Kabirizi, J., Mpairwe, D., Mutetikka, D., 2007. The effect of integrating forage legumes in smallholder crop/livestock farming systems on food, fodder and animal performance. Conf. Int. Agr. Res. Dev., October; 9-11.

Kariuki, J.N., Boer, H., Tamminga, S., Gitau, G.K., Gachuiri, C.K., Muia, J.M., 1998. Rumen degradation and intestinal digestion of protein in Napier grass and other Kenyan forages. Anim. Feed. Sci. Technol.

MOARD’s Livestock Master Plan, 2008. Livestock development master plan study. Phase 1 Report: Data Collection and Analysis. Volume H-Animal Nutrition (November).

Njoka-Njiru, E.N., Njarui, M.G., Abdulrazak, S.A., Mureithi, J.G., 2006. Effect of intercropping herbaceous legumes with Napier grass on dry matter yield and nutritive value of the feedstuffs in semi arid regions of eastern Kenya. Agr. Trop. Subtrop., 39(4), 2006.

Olsen, S., Cole, C., Watanabe, F., Dean, L., 1954. Estimation of available phosphorus in soils by extraction with sodium bicarbonate. USDA Circular Nr 939, US Gov. Print. Office, Washington, D.C.

Orodho, A.B., 2006. The role and importance of Napier grass in the smallholder dairy industry in enya. http://wwww.fao.org/AG/AGP/AGPC/doc/newpub/napier/napier_kenya.htm.

Ørskov, E.R., and McDonald, I., 1997. The estimation of protein degradability in the rumen from incubation measurements weighed according to rate of passage. Journal of Agricultural Science (Cambridge), 92: 499-503.

Owen, E., Jayasuriya, M.C.N., 1989. Use of crop residues as animal feeds in developing countries: A review. Res. Dev. Agr., 6(3), 129-138. 22. 24.

Pinkerton, B., 2005. Forage quality. Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service. Forage fact sheet 2. Cooperative Extension Service, Clemson University.

Sanford, J., Ashly, S., 2008. IGAD livestock policy initiative: Livestock livelihoods and institutions in the IGAD region. IGAD LPI Working paper No. 10-08.

Sintayehu, G., Samuel, A., Derek, B., Ayele, S., 2010. Diagnostic study of live cattle and beef production and marketing. Constraints and opportunities for enhancing the system. The report commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at the request of the Government of Ethiopia.

Solomon, B., Solomon, M., Alemu, Y., 2008. Influence of rainfall pattern on grass/legume composition and nutritive value of natural pasture in Bale Highlands of Ethiopia. Livest. Res. Rural. Dev., http://www.cipav.org.co/lrrd/lrrd20/3/ cont2003.htm.

Sumran, W., Pornchai, L., Chutipong, A., 2009. Effects of plant spacing on yields and nutritive values of Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumach.) under intensive management of nitrogen fertilizer and irrigation. Pak. J. Nutr., 01.

Taye, B., Solomon, M., Prasad, N.K., 2007. Effects of cutting dates on nutritive value of Napier (Pennisetum purpureum) grass planted sole and in association with Desmodium (Desmodium intortum) or Lablab (Lablab purpureus). Livest. Res. Rural. Dev., 19(1), 2007.

Tekalign, T., Hague, I., Aduayi, E.E., 1991. Soil, plant, water, fertilizer, animal manure and compost analysis manual. Plant Science Division Working Document No. 13. International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), Addiss Ababa, Ethiopia.

Tesema Zewdu, Baars, R., Alemu Yami, 2002a. Effect of plant height at cutting, source and level of fertilizer on yield and nutritional quality of Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum). Afr. J. Rang. Forag. Sci., 19, 123-128. 8.

Tesema Zewdu, Baars, R., Alemu Yami, 2003. Effect of plant height at cutting and fertilizer on growth of Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum). Trop., Sci., 43, 57-61.

Tesema Zewdu, Baars, R., Alemu Yami, Negassa, D., 2002b. In sacco dry matter and nitrogen degradation and their relationship with in vitro + matter digestibility of Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumach.) as influenced by height of plant at cutting. Aust. J. Agr. Res., 53, 7-12.

Tesemma Zewdu, 2000. Productivity, Nutritive value and digestibility of Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) as influenced by height of harvesting and different sources of fertilizer applications. An MSc thesis presented to School of Alemeya University.

Teshome, A., Nigussie, D., Yibekal, A., 2012. Sweet potato growth parameters as affected by farm yard manure and phosphorus application at Adami Tulu agricultural research center, central rift valley of Ethiopia. Agr. Sci. J., 2(1), 1-12.

The Netherlands Commissioned by Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, 1985. Agricultural compendium for rural development in the tropics and subtropics. The Netherlands ministry of agriculture and fisheries Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Van Reeujik, L.P., 1992. Procedure for soil analysis 2nd edition, Int. Soil Reference and Information Center (ISRIC), the Netherlands, 371.

Van Soest, P.J., 1982. Nutritional ecology of ruminants O and B books Inc. Corvallis.

Van Soest, P.J., 1994. Nutritional Ecology of the Ruminant, Comstock Publishing Associates. A division of Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London.

Walkley, A., Black, I.A., 1934. An examination of the Degtjareff method for determining organic carbon in soils: Effect of variations in digestion conditions and of inorganic soil constituents. Soil. Sci., 63, 251-263.



How to Cite

Semman Mohammed, U. ., Animut, G. ., & Urge, M. . (2016). Effect of different spacing of Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) intercropped with or without Lablab (Lablab purpureus) on digestibility of Napier grass. Scientific Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, 5(9), 483-495. Retrieved from http://www.sjournals.com/index.php/sjpas/article/view/173