In searching for various types of fodder on the menu, buffel grass for cattle is such a good idea. Among the other grasses, what makes this grass stated to be cattle fodder? Buffel grass is said to be a nutritious forage. The digestibility rate is high so cattle can consume it as well as other grasses. Other minerals and beneficial nutrients are also mentioned to be in this grass. That is why this plant gains its popularity as the cattle’s energy source.
The Origin and the Early Distribution
Although the information on this sometimes is forgotten, it Is important to know. The reason is that it will be easier for those who raise it to know the characteristic of the plant. Buffel grass (Pennisetum ciliare, Cenchrus ciliaris) which is known as perennial grass is from Africa. Not long after the first invention, it was introduced to Australia. It happened about 100 years ago. It was then introduced to other places and becomes popular as one of the cattle forage options.
What is Actually in Buffel Grass?
The surface opinion above is not enough to drag us to a conclusion Buffel grass for cattle in a good way. As we know that every single thing related to food or staple food has to be observed. Here are the substances in this plant.
There are so many minerals in the grass, they are magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. The cattle that consume this grass can get benefit from those essential minerals. After the content consumption, the bones will be stronger, and the muscles and the energy will be stable.
Fiber and Protein
Besides, this grass has these two important things to grow: fiber and protein. This is the reason behind the high digestibility rate above. No wonder this grass is stated to be good for livestock.
Those are the standard essential nutrients, meanwhile, the amount depends on the condition (rainfall, soil fertility, and grazing management).
Every individual thing must have something special, and so does buffel grass for cattle. The specialty lies in the tolerance towards heat and the lack of water. Many farmers say that this is the thing that they like about this grass. It means that growing this grass will need a minimum water supply.
Also, when the weather gets warmer and warmer, it doesn’t require treatment to balance the temperature. It has a deep root so it can absorb the water and the important substance deep down the soil layers. The dry periods will not invade or kill the grass. When the climate becomes hot and hotter, this grass can still survive. Heat and drought do not bother it so much. However, the weakness lies in the cold season. It might grow slower during cold weather.
One Thing to Be Noticed
Buffel grass is beneficial but at once can be a threat to other plants. If you plant this grass nearby cereal plants or other plants, it can steal the nutrients that are meant for cereal crops. As mentioned of the weed above, this grass can also fill the ‘weed’ place if it is planted nearby important plants. Keep the distance between plants so that the grass does not interfere. It requires a more serious way of management.
In some cattle, this grass also becomes an allergen. There are some reports about skin irritation in some cattle especially if this grass is not planted in the native area. This doesn’t happen a lot but knowing the risk will be better for the future. Observe the cattle response after consuming it, then take an action quickly.
Another Thing That Can Boost the Productivity
It deals with weed. Weed is something that will disturb the grass growth. Although sometimes it seems isn’t important because it doesn’t attack the grass directly like the small animals.
Removing it will give good effects. It disturbs the grass by competing with the grass in getting nutrients. Their root will absorb beneficial substance that is important for growth. The result of that competition is yield degression. Manual removal or using herbicides is alright. But to save you time, the herbicide is suggested. Follow the instruction for the right application.
Improving the Growth
The productivity of forage that is made of this grass relies on the growth’s speed. When the plant is fast, the forage can be produced quickly too. Nitrogen can help to speed up growth. It also maintains the nutrient of the grass. It boosts the quality so the grass result will be the number one grass.
However, the experts remind us not to give too much fertilizer. The over-fertilizer will destroy the construction of the substance. It happens, it is not a good plant that you will get, it will be otherwise. Follow the instruction on the label about how many times and the amount of fertilizer that has to be sow.
To sum up, buffelgrass for cattle is a sustainable forage source. It can tolerate heat and drought but grow slower in the cold season.