ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 80 Number 3
Irrigated forage production in the central clay plains of Sudan. (135)
Management needs of crops grown for forage in the central clay plains of Sudan were investigated. Reliable seed rate recommendations for a range of forages were difficult to establish because of highly variable field emergence. However, for sorghum, it appeared that 95% of maximum forage yield could be obtained with established seedling populations of 55 plants m-2. Irrigation prior to cultivation and sowing during the dry season nearly doubled field emergence of sorghum and wheat and a similar degree of improvement in emergence was achieved with planting sorghum at 2-cm depth rather than sowing broadcast. Sorghum grown for forage showed an average response to applied N of 20.3 kg dry matter (DM) kg-1 N with application of up to 75 kg N ha-1. Forage production responses to P application were more variable with an average of 12.6 kg DM kg-1 P2O5 within a range of 0.8 to 40.6 kg DM kg-1 P2O5. Among a range of species, the most productive short-term forage crop was grain sorghum cv. UmBanein, which produced on average, 17% more DM than the traditional forage sorghum cv. Abu Sabein when harvested as a whole crop for forage. It is suggested that a policy of seasonal production of irrigated forage in Central Sudan, focussed on the July-January period, should be encouraged in order to maximize efficiency of use of limited water supplies.
Keywords: Forages; Sorghum; Seed rate: Fertilizer response; Irrigation; Water use efficiency; Sudan