Hybrid Napier grass varieties - Packchong1 and Juncao
Packchong1 and Juncoa Napier grass varieties, also known as supper Napier on average can produce up to 450 tons in one hectare per Annam. This amount is enough to feed between 30 to 40 large dairy cattle equivalent to 300-400 goats/sheep in a year.
Packchong and Juncao are fast growing varieties attaining a height of up to 7m when left to grow freely. The varieties have a high nutritional value, with crude protein content of up to 18%. The high protein content means that a farmer does not require to supplement their dairy livestock with commercial feeds.
The Juncao variety was developed in China from cross breeding of the African elephant grass and the bamboo plant, while packchong1 was developed in Thailand by crossing the Africa elephant grass with perlmillet. The outcome of these crossing are new hybrid varieties that have deep and faveolus rooted system that supports fast growth, drought resistance and high nutrient content.
With small pieces of land available for livestock fodder cultivation in Kenya, cultivation of the hybrid varieties is highly desirable. Also considering that Kenya has two unreliable Rainy seasons of 2 and 3 months respectively, with the rest of the year being a dry period (7 months), the Juncao and packchong varieties with their drought resistance traits and wide adaptability will solve the fodder problem in Kenya
How to plant the certified hybrid Napier grass- Juncao or Packchong:
- Prepare the land. Ensure that the soil is well pulverized to allow easy of planting and root penetration.
- Create planting furrows of 1m-1.5m apart
- Source hybrid Napier grass cuttings (Juncao or Packchong) from Faina innovations that are certified by KEPHIS
- Plant the cuttings on the furrow 30-50 cm apart. NB ensure that at least on node joint is covered by soil.
- Planting should be done during rainy seasons or under the irrigation.
- Apply 350 kgs per hectare during plant also apply manure. Once the plants have grown to a height of 200 mm, 250 kg apply CAN fertilizer per hectare (top dressing) to promote tirinering