Less availability of good quality green forages has led to low productivity from national dairy herd of Sri Lanka. Growing fodder to suit the particular production system is an efficient and economical solution for this problem. Hybrid Napier var. CO-3 is a high yielding perennial fodder grass developed by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatoor, India in 1997. The Livestock Breeding Project introduced this fodder crop to Sri Lanka in 1999. This grass is placed in a higher category, especially on tillering capacity, green forage yield, regeneration capacity, leaf to stem ratio, crude protein content, in resistance of pest and diseases and in free from adverse factors along with other fodder varieties grown in the country. It recorded an average green fodder of 5 – 8 kg/plant/cut or 250 -350 t/ha/yr under local conditions. Under this situation, nearly a block of 500 grass bushes (approximately 500 m 2 or 20 perches land area) is adequate to supply year-round quality fodder without concentrates for two milking cows. This grass is propagated through root-slips or stem-cuttings and could be maintained as a perennial crop up to 4 -5 years. Endowed with quick regeneration capacity, it can be harvested once in 30 -45 days. Proper management practice together with correct application of fertilizer, irrigation in drought spells, cutting at the suitable height and interval is essential for maximum profit and persistence of the crop. When harvested at correct stage, CO-3 grass contains 18 -20% dry matter and 15 –16% crude proteins, 9.8 – 12.8% ash, 34 – 37% crude fiber and 74 – 78% neutral detergent fiber on dry matter basis. Surprisingly high crude protein content is one of a distinctive feature of this grass. Peradeniya have launched research and development activities under field situation to investigate the potentials and limitations under on-farm conditions and popularize the grass among small holders.
Premaratne, S., & Premalal, G. G. C. (2016). Hybrid Napier (Pennisetum perpureum X Pennisetum americarnum) VAR. CO-3: a resourceful fodder grass for dairy development in Sri Lanka. Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 2(1), 22. https://doi.org/10.4038/jas.v2i1.8110