Napier Grass: A Model Crop for Developing Partially Weathered Gravelly Land in the Central Deccan Plateau Region
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The gravel content in the landscape varies in time and space for the interaction of external factors namely climate and vegetation. The vegetation plays a greater role on gravel disintegration in the landscape at initial stage of soil development can be studied keeping other factors as constant. The objective of this study was to account the change of particle content, particle movements, regolith depth, bulk density, soil organic carbon, cation exchange capacity, pH, mineralizable nitrogen and quantification of both above and below ground biomass production of grasses/fodder crops on the gravelly land. In this regard, locally suitable fodder crops such as napier grass, stylo grass, marvel-stylo grass intercrop and marvel grass were raised. Representative soil samples (45–50 kg) were collected from the surface as well as subsurface layers and separated into different sizes for four consecutive years i.e. 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15 and 2015–16. The amount of gravel disintegration decreased with increase in gravel size, time and depth. Overall, the gravel reduction under napier grass, stylo-marvel inter cropping system, stylo and marvel grass cultivation were 91, 65, 52 and 21 g kg−1, respectively higher than that of native fallow land. The increase of soil content, regolith depth, soil organic carbon content and mineralizable nitrogen were highly associated with lowering of gravel content, bulk density and soil pH observed across the treatments. To conclude, cultivation of napier grass may be preferred in barren land for faster disintegration of gravels as well as more fodder production and benefit for the subsequent crops to be taken.
KeywordsFodder crops Gravel disintegration Gravel-temporal dynamics Soil production Biomass production
This project work (Project code no; IXX10215, Project number 1004522) is financially supported by ICAR-National Institute of Abiotic Stress Management, Malegaon Khurd, Baramati Pune-41315 Maharashtra is gratefully acknowledged. The authors declare that there are no financial/commercial conflicts of interest.
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