Common Forages

Most of the plant materials eaten by ruminants in Jamaica are not indigenous to the island; however, some have been in use for over 50 years. Forages commonly used to feed livestock include:

  • Grasses
  • Legume
  • Shrubs
  • Conserved Fodder

Grasses

Brachiaria Humidicola

Brachiaria Humidicola

A new cultivar of this grass was recently introduced and is being evaluated at Bodles Research Station. Brachiaria Humidicola is a species of the Brachiaria genus, which is a native of Central and Eastern Africa.The popular Brachiaria grass in Jamaica is Brachiaria decumbens (Signal grass), which is a stoloniferous variety. Brachiaria Humidicola is similar in growth habit, prefers shallow soils and rocky terrain, but is more tufted. It also appears to have a higher leaf-to-stem ratio than Signal grass.

Brachiaria Humidicola

Cynodon (Tifton 85)

Cynodon sp. (Tifton 85) is being evaluated at Bodles Research Station. The Cynodon species has several cultivars of Bermuda grass developed in the United States and Tifton 85 is one example. This grass is the F1 hybrid between Cynodon (Plant Introduction Number 290884) from South African and Tifton 86.Tifton 86 has longer stems, broader leaves and a darker green colour than most of the other Bermuda grass hybrids. This grass is suited for grazing and hay making.

Pangola

Digitaria decumbens (Pangola)

This grass is one species of the genus Digitaria, of which there are more than 300 varieties. Pangola is a vigorous, strongly stoloniferous perennial grass, and propagation is by stolon cuttings.This grass is well accepted by animals and maintains it nutritive value when adequately grassed.

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Digitaria melanjiana (Jarra)

Jarra grass is another Digitaria variety being cultivated at Bodles. It is similar to Pangola but appears to show much more vigorous growth. Jarra produces viable seeds which is a major advantage in its establishment.Jarra grass could be of value to the livestock industry because as reports suggests this grass is very good for haymaking and produces estimated yields of 12 metric tons/ha/cwt.

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