Bracheri mutica (Forsk.) Stapf
Syn.: Panicum barbinode Trin.
Panicum purpurascens Raddi
Panicum muticum Forsk.
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
Considered one of the best tropical grasses for general purposes, especially
during the dry season. Used for green soilage, hay or browse. Grazed
rotationally as it will not withstand heavy grazing; relished by livestock.
Grown as valuable fodder crop in many parts of the tropics; introduced into
Assam. Does not make good silage (Bogdan, 1977), and not very good for hay.
No data available.
CP ranges from 2.816.1%, CF from 2834%, NFE from 4157% and EE from 0.93.9%,
P content as high as 0.8% are reported (Bogdan, 1977). According to
Kothandaraman et al. (1973), the moisture content at 30 days is 9.4%, DM
content 90.6%, ash 14.5%, CP = 14.2, fat 7.2%, CF 19.3%, N-free extract 44.8%,
CaO = 0.70%, P2O5 = 1.1%, K2O = 3.4% and MgO = 0.8%.
Perennial grass, rather coarse, with well developed root; culms 0.62.4 m tall,
rooting at nodes, branches, robust, geniculate at base, then ascending,
slender, bare at top, compressed, striate, glabrous; nodes covered with long
white hairs, spreading, linear or linear-lanceolate, acuminate, subcordate at
base, flat, glabrous or slightly hairy on undersurface, scaberulous, 1525 cm
long, 1.251.6 cm broad, margins hispid; sheaths compressed, striate, lax,
glabrous or hairy at throat ligules short, very hairy; inflorescence a panicle
made up of 820 false spikes or racemes, simple or compound at base, erect or
somewhat spreading, alternate, distant, robust, lower 510 cm upper shorter;
principal axis almost rounded, angular at summit, almost straight, striate,
glabrous; rachis of raceme striate, back convex, ciliate on margins and with a
few long hairs at base; pedicels short, paired, solitary or fasciled, with
acute, 2.53 mm long, glabrous; lower glume 0.61 mm long, membranous,
ovate-acute, 1-nerved; upper glume 2.53 mm long, membraneous, concave,
ovateacute, 5-nerved; lower floret male or neuter; lemma 2.42.7 long; palea
2.22.7 mm long, narrower than lemma, hyaline, 1-nerved; upper flocoriaceous,
oblong or elliptic, obtuse, pitted, margins hardly incurved; palea
subcoriaceous, back flat, pitted, elliptic, obtus, margins inturned. 2n
Reported from the African Center of Diversity, paragrass or cvs thereof is
reported to tolerate drought, laterite, low pH, poor soil, shade, waterlogging
and weeds (Duke, 1978). Several cultivars have been developed: 'TARS' in
Australia; 'Sao Palo' in Brazil; and 'Medellin' in Columbia. A form from
Rippon Falls is widely cultivated in Southern Rhodesia under name of 'Tanner
grass', and is much more palatable than usual strains.
Native to tropical Africa and perhaps tropical South America (perhaps
introduced), but now widely distributed throughout tropics as fodder grass.
Classified as a serious weed in Australia, Fiji and Thailand, a principle weed
in Sri Lanka, Colombia, Hawaii, Jamaica, Malaysia, Peru, Philippines, Puerto
Rico, and Trinidad, a common weed in Borneo and Mauritius (Holm et al, 1979);
it is a weed in 23 crops in 34 countries (Holm et al, 1977). According to
Brown (1975) Roundup at 2.55 kg/ha gives good control of paragrass.
Ranging from Subtropical Dry to Wet through Tropical Very Dry to Wet Forest
Life Zones, paragrass is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 8.7 to
41.0 dm (mean of 16 cases = 19.9) annual temperature of 18.7 to
27.4°C (mean of 16 cases = 24.4) and pH of 4.3 to 7.7 (mean of 14
cases = 6.0). An ideal perennial grass for wet areas in tropics and
subtropics, suitable for swamps and floodplains in coastal regions. Withstands
both drought and prolonged flooding or waterlogging, but makes little growth
during dry weather. Very frost sensitive. Can become a troublesome weed,
especially when established in irrigation ordrainage channels fron which it can
rapidly infest cultivated fields.
Although paragrass produces profuse flower-heads, it is a poor seed producer.
As seeds are rarely viable, plantings are made most often from cuttings.
Cuttings along any part of the stem with 2 or 3 nodes used as propagules give
satisfactory rootings; those near the tip developing earlier. Also cuttings
placed vertically as opposed to horizontally, develop faster and are more
vigorous. Some strains in Australia do set viable seed, about 20% germination.
Nitrogen fertilizer is sometimes applied. In India, 100 kg/N/ha increased
yield by 49.2%, TDN by 79.2% and CP by 23.3%. When planted by seed, seeding
rate is about 24 kg/ha. When propagated by stem cuttings, they are placed
about 2 m by 2 m apart, or cut stems are scattered over surface and covered by
disking. Old stands may be renovated by heavy disking or shallow plowing. In
Queensland paragrass is grown in combination with Centrosema pubescens
or Trifolium fragiferum.
Grazing paragrass should not be started until grass has produced a complete
ground cover, sometimes up to a year from planting. Low cutting or grazing
swards is recommended, cuts at 17 cm yield 20% higher than cuts at 1520 cm
over the year.
Yields range from 612 MT/ha/yr in Australia (Miller, 1976), 426 in Cuba; 16
in Surinam and 3840 in Puerto Rico. Bogdan reports yields of 9135 MT fresh
herbage/ha, 339 MT DM. Wealth of India reports 34 MT green fodder from Poona,
87 from Malaya and 104 from British Guiana. In spite of such high potential
Bogdan (1977) says yields of 512 MT DM/ha are more to be expected. This
compares well with the 612 MT yields reported in 4-year swards irrigated in
Australia (Miller, 1976). More importantly Novoa and Rodriguez-Carrasquel
(1972) got 8-week yields of 16 MT DM/ha during the dry season in Venezuela
(fertilized and irrigated). Sotomayor Rios et al. (1973) report CP yield
>2.5 MT/ha/yr in Puerto Rico. With heavy fertilization and ample moisture
or irrigation, this grass will yield up to 150 MT/ha/WM, and may be cut at
monthly intervals. Under ordinary conditions, it may be cut at 68 week
intervals. It compares well in quality with other tropical fodder grasses.
Crude protein is highest when about 30 days old at 14.19%. For highest
nutritive values this grass should be cut for feeding after 30 days, but this
may vary with soil and other environmental conditions. An important tropical
fodder grass, especially for wet areas. Cultivated mainly in tropical Africa,
Northern Australia and tropical South America, providing large quantities of
nutritious forage and fodder.
According to the phytomass files (Duke, 1981b), annual productivity ranges from
4 to 39 MT/ha (426 in Cuba, 39 in Puerto Rico, 16 in Surinam). An NPP of 812
MT/ha is reported for B. brizantha in Sri Lanka, 724 MT/ha is reported
for B. decumbens in Brazil, 120 in Colombia, 432 in Cuba, 12 in
Jamaica, 915 in Peru, 1020 in Sarawak, 36 in Surinam. For B.
humidicola, 11 MT/ha/yr is reported in Brazil, 1134 in Fuji. For B.
radicans, 15 is reported in Brazil, 34 in Puerto Rico. For B.
ruziziensis, 2 is reported in Australia, 14 in Surinam. Much of this could
be siphoned into energy production.
Following fungi have been reported on paragrass: Cerebella andropogonis,
Corticium solani, Gibberella pulicaris, Helminthosporium sp., Marasmius
sacchari, Mayriogenospora paspali, Myrothecium striatosporum, Nigrospora
oryzae, N. panici, Perisporium zeae, Pythium artorogus, Pithium
(Nematosporanglum epiphanospon, N. hyphalosticton, N. leiohyphon, N.
polyandron, N. rhizophthoron, N. spaniogamon, N. thysanohyphalon), Piricularia
grisea, P. oryzae forma brachiariae, Uromyces leptodermus. It is
also attacked by the bacterium, Pectobacterium carotovorum var.
graminarum. Nematodes isolated from this grass include: Dolichodorus
nigeriensis, Helicotylenchus pseudorobustus, Hemicriconemoides cocophilus,
Scutellonema clathricaudatum, Tylenchorhynchus sp., and Xiphinema
ifacolum. Holm et al (1977) list it as an alternate host of Cassytha
filiformis, Helminthosporium sp., Piricularia oryzae, Pythium
arrhenomanes, Pythium artotrogus, Pythium rostratum, Sclerospora graminicola
and Thaia oryziphon
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
- Bogdan, A.V. 1977. Tropical pasture and fodder plants. Longman, London.
- Brown, D.A. 1975. Roundupa new translocated herbicide. Abstracts on Trop.
Agriculture I (1975), 7500259 from Hawaii Sugar Technology Reports No.
- Duke, J.A. 1978. The quest for tolerant germplasm. p. 161. In: ASA Special
Symposium 32, Crop tolerance to suboptimal land conditions. Am. Soc. Agron.
- Duke, J.A. 1981b. The gene revolution. Paper 1. p. 89150. In: Office of
Technology Assessment, Background papers for innovative biological technologies
for lesser developed countries. USGPO. Washington.
- Holm, L.G., Plunknett, D.L., Pancho, J.V., and Herberger, J.P. 1977. The
world's worst weeds. Univ. Press of Hawaii. Honolulu.
- Holm, L.G., Pancho, J.V., Herberger, J.P., and Plucknett, D.L. 1979. A
geographical atlas of world weeds. John Wiley & Sons, New York.
- Kothandaraman, C.V., et al. 1973. Nutritive value of fodder grasses are
different growth stages. Madras Agr. J. 60(5):353354.
- Miller, C.P. 1976. Growth and nitrogen uptake of irrigated grass-legume and
nitrogen fertilized grass pasture in a Queensland tropical highland. J. Aust.
Inst. Agr. Sci. 46:184.
- Novoa, L.G. and Rodriguez-Carrasquel, S. 1972. Estudio del comportamiento de
los pastos para (Brachiaria mutica Stapf) y aleman (Echinochloa
polystachya A.Bik. Hitch.). Agron. Trop. (Maracay) 22(6 Ser. 2):643655.
- Sotomayor Rios, A., Acosta Matienzo, A., and Velez Fortuno, J. 1973. Evaluation
of seven forage grasses at two cutting stages. J. Agr. U. Puerto Rico.
Last update December 30, 1997