boma rodhes hay

Boma Rhodes grass, also known as Boma grass, is a highly valued forage crop due to its remarkable characteristics. This grass species belongs to the Chloridoideae subfamily and is native to South Africa. It is a warm-season perennial grass, meaning it grows actively during the warmer months and goes dormant during the colder seasons.

One of the most notable features of Boma Rhodes grass is its strong and extensive root system. This helps the grass to withstand periods of drought, making it a suitable choice for areas with low rainfall. Additionally, the grass spreads quickly and forms a dense ground cover that helps to prevent soil erosion and promotes the growth of other plants in the area.

Boma Rhodes grass can grow up to 1.5 meters tall, and its leaves are long, narrow, and slightly hairy. The grass is highly palatable to cows, making it an ideal choice for grazing. It is also useful in the cut-and-carry system, where it is harvested and fed to livestock in stalls or pens.

The grass is adaptable to a wide range of soil types and can tolerate a variety of environmental conditions, including high temperatures, low humidity, and poor soil fertility. It is popular for haymaking and is commonly grown in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

There are several varieties of Boma Rhodes grass, including the Giant, Boma, Mbarara, and Masaba Rhodes. These varieties differ in their growth habits, leaf structure, and overall performance, but they all share the same desirable traits that make Boma Rhodes grass an excellent choice for livestock feed and land management.

Advantages of Boma Rhodes Grass

Boma Rhodes grass has numerous advantages that make it a preferred forage crop for farmers and livestock keepers. Firstly, it is well-suited for areas with low rainfall, typically below 900 mm per year, due to its drought tolerance. This makes it a valuable option for farmers who live in areas with unpredictable rainfall patterns or for those who rely on rain-fed agriculture.

The grass can also withstand heavy grazing, making it ideal for open grazing systems. It is highly palatable and nutritious, which means that cows and other livestock enjoy eating it, leading to improved weight gain and milk production.

Furthermore, Boma Rhodes grass is suitable for haymaking, and the grass has a high yield potential, making it a profitable crop for farmers. The hay can be stored and used as fodder during periods of low forage availability or sold in markets, providing an additional source of income.

Disadvantages of Boma Rhodes Grass

Despite its many benefits, Boma Rhodes grass has a few disadvantages. One of the main drawbacks is that it can be difficult to establish. The seed germination rate is low, and it may take a long time for the grass to form a dense ground cover.

Another disadvantage of Boma Rhodes grass is that it is highly palatable, which can lead to overgrazing if not managed correctly. This can result in reduced forage availability, decreased plant vigor, and soil degradation.

Cultivation of Boma Rhodes Grass

Climate

Boma Rhodes grass is adapted to a wide range of climatic conditions. It can grow in areas with an annual rainfall of as low as 250 mm, making it suitable for cultivation in areas with low rainfall or those prone to drought. However, it is also capable of thriving in areas with higher rainfall. Generally, the higher the rainfall, the higher the yield potential of the grass.

The ideal altitude range for Boma Rhodes grass is between 600 m and 2000 m above sea level. This makes it suitable for cultivation in most parts of Africa, as well as other regions with similar climatic conditions.

In areas with high temperatures, Boma Rhodes grass can still perform well as long as there is sufficient rainfall. However, in regions with high temperatures and low rainfall, the grass may not be as productive. In such areas, irrigation may be necessary to maintain adequate moisture levels.

Overall, Boma Rhodes grass is a highly adaptable species that can grow in a variety of climatic conditions. Its strong drought tolerance and ability to persist under adverse conditions make it a valuable resource for farmers in regions with unpredictable rainfall patterns or prolonged dry spells.

Soil

Boma Rhodes grass can grow in a variety of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils. However, it performs best in fertile, well-drained loamy soils. Loamy soils are those that have a mixture of sand, silt, and clay, with a good balance of soil particles, which allows for good water retention and drainage.

While Boma Rhodes grass is adaptable to different soil types, it is important to note that it does not perform well in very acidic or alkaline soils. The pH range for Boma Rhodes grass should be between 6.0 and 7.5. If the soil is too acidic or alkaline, the grass will not be able to take up the necessary nutrients, resulting in stunted growth and poor yields.

Before planting Boma Rhodes grass, it is important to test the soil to determine its pH, nutrient content, and other factors that may affect the growth of the grass. Soil testing can be done through reputable laboratories such as cropnuts.com. Based on the soil test results, farmers can then determine the appropriate soil amendments, such as lime or fertilizer, to improve soil fertility and pH levels, thus optimizing the conditions for Boma Rhodes grass growth.

In summary, while Boma Rhodes grass can grow in a wide range of soil types, it performs best in fertile, loamy soils with good drainage and a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. Soil testing is critical to determine the soil suitability for the grass and to optimize the conditions for optimal growth and yield.

Preparation

It is best grown as a pure stand.

To prepare the land for planting Boma Rhodes grass, farmers are advised to plow and repeat the process at least once to make a fine shamba. Plowing again when weeds have emerged helps reduce competition during the establishment phase. It is best grown as a pure stand, with no other crops planted in the same field.

Planting

Boma Rhodes grass is typically established from seed, and the best time to sow is during the rainy season. If there are two rainy seasons, it is recommended to sow during the short rains. If there is only one rainy season, planting should be done during the early to mid-rains.

To plant the grass, make furrows 25 cm apart using a peg to measure. Drill the seeds in the furrows, at a rate of 12 kg per hectare (2.5 acres), covering them lightly with soil. When planting on a smaller scale, 1.2 kg of seed will sow 0.1 ha or 1/4 acre. It is advisable to cover the seeds lightly, for example, by placing light tree branches over the furrows.

Fertilizer

During planting, farmers are advised to apply manure or fertilizer to promote strong root development. Recommended fertilizers include Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) at 1-2 bags/ha. For good results, broadcast 10 tons/ha of manure and harrow before planting. For high productivity, apply nitrogen fertilizer, preferably during heavy rains, at a rate of 100 kg per hectare.

Weeding

To prevent competition for nutrients and water, farmers should make sure the plot is weed-free when planting. Hand hoeing is an effective method of removing weeds between the rows.

Pests

No diseases of importance but common pests such as armyworm may attack the pastures.

Harvesting

Start harvesting or grazing soon after grass flowers. If cutting, cut close to the ground to stimulate spreading. Leave to grow again until next flowering.

When well managed, Rhodes grass can yield an average of 8 tonnes dry matter per hectare per year.

Yields in the second year may be double those of the establishment year, but this also depends on management and environmental conditions.

Seed production

Boma Rhodes grass seed can be harvested by hand with sickles and threshed with sticks. It is important to keep the seeding pasture clean of weeds because Rhodes grass seed is more difficult to clean than most other tropical grasses. Boma Rodhess seeds should be harvested carefully and at the right time or you will end up getting seeds that will not germinate. If think harvesting your own seeds will prove a bit challenging for you, try buying quality Boma Rhodes seeds by clicking here.

Rhodes grass often produces two crops of seed per year. Rhodes grass seed matures 23–25 days after flowering. Yields up to 350 kg seed per hectare can be harvested. Seed can remain viable in storage for up to 4 years.

Feeding

Grazing is the most common method of feeding Rhodes grass. Avoid overgrazing— because its palatability is extremely high, livestock tends to overgraze pasture. Some farmers use the grass for cut-and-carry. It also makes good hay.

This information is meant as a guide and must be adapted to suit local conditions.

This guide was compiled with assisted content from Dr Ben Lukuyu.

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  • Graduate Farmer

    Empowering Ambitions, Cultivating Success: Graduate Farmer is dedicated to inspiring and equipping young men and women with practical solutions to kickstart and thrive in profitable agribusiness ventures across Kenya.

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Comments (19)

  • Mary Wanyonyi May 4, 2017 Reply

    Can I plant without Fertiliser then topdress?

  • Murimi July 14, 2018 Reply

    Hi
    My grass has been heavily infested by other grasses and weeds,what can I do to maintain the boma Rhodes grass the field is now in its third year.
    Murimi

  • Jamen wanyama May 12, 2019 Reply

    Where can I get the seedlings?

  • Elijah m June 28, 2019 Reply

    I want seeds for planting one acre. 0779950808 elijah

  • James January 4, 2020 Reply

    I have ¼ an acre of land, naweza tumia kiasi gani cha mbegu?

  • Tobias Abeti June 28, 2020 Reply

    I have received a good to start information about Boma Rhodes for hay making. My problem is ,how to construct a hay barn,please kindly assist get a plan or even photos of already constructed barns showing even the inside part.

  • Farouk August 25, 2020 Reply

    What herbicides should i use to control weeds on my plantation?

  • Jonathan Ng'etich September 16, 2020 Reply

    Dear Graduate Farmer, Can i use 72% weed control chemical after 5 days of the planting of the boma rhode??

  • Jane ndiritu October 1, 2020 Reply

    How much is boma Rhode grass five kg

  • Osborn Khasabuli March 30, 2021 Reply

    Hi,
    When the yields go low, can one re-broadcast the harvested seeds to increase the yield in the next harvest?

  • Barasa April 24, 2021 Reply

    Can bomas Rhode germinate in a field previously under maize plantation and weed control was being fine via use of lumax and governor herbicides?

  • Alfred Munywoki May 6, 2021 Reply

    I want to try planting boma Rhodes in 1 acre. How many kgs of seed will I need/ price and also what is the spacing.

    I would also appreciate if you provide me with more information necessary for successful harvest .
    My farm is in mtito Andei Makueni county

  • BEN TALA August 26, 2021 Reply

    I have 1ha and i to practice rhode grass so how many bag approximately i can used

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