The Effect of Stocklength, Stock Diameter and Planting Angle on Early
Establisment of Gliricidia sepium
Legume tree crops, which establish easily
and do not require extensive agronomic inputs, constitute potentially
valuable sources of supplementary feeds that subsistence and medium-scale
livestock farmers in the tropics could use to improve livestock nutrition
and productivity. A field trial was conducted with Gliricidia sepium
cuttings to investigate the effect if three stock lengths (20, 30 and
40 cm), two stock diameters (1.5-2.5) and (3.0-3.5 cm) and three planting
angles (30° , 60° and 90°) in a factorial experiment. There
were high significant differences (p<0.05) in all the growth parameters
of the stock diameters and stock lengths used. The highest dry matter
yield of 3.83, 4.61 and 4.65 t ha-1 were produced by stock
length 20, 30 and 40 cm, respectively. The highest planting angle of 90°
produced the tallest shoot height and biggest basal diameter, while the
least planting angle of 30° produced the least shoot height and basal
diameter, respectively. The interactions between the smaller stock diameter
and the least planting angle (30° ) produced the least values of growth
parameters. Gliricidia cuttings could be easily established with thicker
stock diameter of not less than 3.0 and 40 cm stock length, planting in
an angle between 60 and 90 degrees.
A tree or shrub is classified as fodder if it is browsed
by animals. Fodder trees and shrubs constitute a vital component in livestock
productivity in the arid and the semi-arid zones where about 52% of the
cattle, 57% of the sheep, 65% of the goats and 100% of the camels in tropical
Africa are found (Von Kaufmann, 1986). They supply goats and camels with
the bulk of their nutritive requirements and complement the diet of cattle
and sheep with protein, vitamins and minerals in which bush straw is deficient
during the dry season (Dicko and Sikena, 1992). Biomass production of
browses vary from 2 to 20 tons of dry matter per hectare for Leucaena,
2-10 t ha-1 for Gliricidia and Sesbania and 4-10
tons for Cajanus cajan (NAS, 1984).
Browse plants are sources of feed to livestock, especially
during the dry season in the tropics, these plants remain green longer
into the season and fluctuate less in quality than most herbaceous legumes
or grasses (Akinola et al., 1991).
Gliricidia sepium has been recognised as very
important browse plant. Though introduced into Nigeria many years ago,
it has naturalised and is receiving attention as a very promising browse
species for livestock feeding, particularly during the most critical part
of the long season when fresh and high quality livestock feeds are not
available. The plant is drought resistant, deep rooted and has nodules
for nitrogen fixation. Gliricidia sepium has been widely used for
plantation shade, agroforestry systems, living fence, wood production,
fence posts, fire wood, green manure and livestock fodder (Sumberg, 1986).
It has been successfully intercropped with a variety of species in alley
farming systems. A range of provenances is grown throughout the tropics.
Most are adapted to wet, warm environments with temperature ranging from
22 to 30 °C and average annual rainfall of at least 1500 mm (Wiersum
and Dirdjosoemarto, 1987). Although, Gliricidia sepium does best
in acid soils and humid conditions, it has been successfully introduced
into the subhumid zone of Nigeria, a region that holds a large number
of ruminant stock (Williams, 1987; Cobbina et al., 1990).
One of the major limitations to the full exploitation
of Gliricidia appears to be with regards to its establishment. Francis
and Atta-Krah (1989) reported establishment of an uneven stands of Gliricidia
by localfarmers. The problem may be due to poor seed quality. This problem
could be circumvented through planting of Gliricidia stocks. Atta-Krah
and Kang (1992) found the use of stem cuttings to be feasible for some
species such as Gliricidia sepium and Erythrina sp., but
is generally less preferred when direct seeding is possible. Similarly,
in the establishment of an alley farming system, a large number of cuttings
is required. This study is therefore aimed to evaluate establishment procedures
and early growth for the browse species in the sub-humid zone of Nigeria.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Site characteristics: A field trial was conducted
in 2001 and 2002 at the National Animal Production Research Institute,
Shika (11° 12`N, 7° 33`E) in the sub-humid zone of Nigeria. Rainfall
data during the experimental period are presented in Table
1. Shika soils have been classified as ferruginous tropical soils
developed over schists, gnesis and quartzites (Klinkenberg and Higgins,
1968). The trial commenced in July 2001, when the rain was established
and terminated in October, 2002.
Experimental design and treatment: Prior to planting,
the area was ploughed and harrowed. Stocks of Gliricidia sepium
fresh cuttings were used in a factorial experiment replicated four times.
The factorial experiment involved 3 stock lengths (20, 30 and 40 cm);
2 stock diameters (1.5-2.5 and 3.0-3.5 cm) and 3 planting angles (30,
60 and 90°). The treatment combinations were constituted in 72 plots
each measuring 2x2 m with a space of 50 cm between and within rows. The
stocks of Gliricidia sepium used for the experiment were collected
from Gliricidia trees grown for living fences at the University Quarters
of Ahmadu Bello University, Samaru, Zaria.
Planting procedures: On the day Gliricidia stocks
were collected, the top ends were immediately cut on a slant to allow
water to run off and to prevent being attacked by diseases. In order to
get the actual diameters needed, calipers were used to measure the required
diameters of 1.5-2.5 and 3.0-3.5 cm. The stocks were later cut to 20,
30 and 40 cm, respectively. The cuttings were planted within two days
to prevent from drying out. The plots were weeded thrice and protected
from straying animals using available fencing materials such as chain-links
and angle irons.
Measurement of growth parameters and biomass:
At 12 months old various phenological parameters were measured. Percentage
stock survival, shoot height, basal diameter, number of branches and plant
spread were determined according to the procedure of NFTA (1989).
||Rainfall distribution (mm) in (2001-2002) and medium-term
(1989-1999) means for Shika, Nigeria
|*Values in parentheses are number of rainy days
Biomass production was determined when plants were 12
months old. Plants were cut at the middle of the row to 0.5 m above the
ground. The fresh weight of the material was weighed on the field, sub
sampled and oven dried at 60 °C for 48 h for determination of dry
matter. This was later analysed according to the procedure of AOAC (1975).
Statistical analysis: The mean values for all
data collected were subjected to analysis of variance and significant
mean differences were further separated using the Duncan`s Multiple Range
Test (Steel and Torrie, 1980).
There were high significant differences (p<0.05) in
all the growth parameters of the two stock diameters. The percentage of
stock survival was highly significant (p<0.05) compared with other
growth parameters understudied (Table 2).
Generally there were variations in all the growth parameters
and the dry matter yields and these were consistent relatively to the
increase in the length of the stocks of cuttings. The highest dry matter
yield of 4.65, 4.61 and 3.83 t ha-1 were produced by stock
length of 40, 30 and 20 cm, respectively (Table 2).
There were significant differences (p<0.05) in both
the growth parameters and the dry matter yields. The significant differences
were consistent in shoot height, basal diameter and dry matter yield.
The variations in number of branches and plant spread were not consistently
relative to the increase in degrees of the planting angles. The highest
number of branches (4.5) and plant spread (2.3 m) were produced by planting
angle 60° and 30°, respectively (Table 2). Effect
of stock diameter interactions on growth parameters was noticed thicker
stock diameter of 3.0 to 3.5 (SD2) was highly to be significant
(p<0.05). The interaction between significant than thinner stock diameter
(SD1). The interactions between SD2xSL1
and SD2xSL3 were noticed to be highly significant
than other interactions of stock diameters and stock lengths (Table
||Effect of stock diameter, stock length and planting
angle on shoot height, number of branches, basal diameter, percentage
stock survival, plant spread and dry matter yield
|Means in the same column with different superscripts
differ significantly. (p<0.05), NB = Number of branches; SS = Percentage
Stock survival; SH = Shoot Height; PS = Plant Spread; BD = Basal Diameter
and DM = Dry Matter yield
||Effects of stock diameter, stock length and planting
angle interactions on shoot height, number of branches, basal diameter,
plant spread and dry matter yield
|Means in the same column with different superscripts
differ significantly p = 0.05). NB = Number of Branches; SH = Shoot
Height; DM = Dry Matter; PS = Plant Spread; BD = Basal Diameter SD
= Stock Diameter; PA = Planting Angle and SL = Stock Length
The effect of stock diameter and planting angle interactions
is shown on (Table 3). Effect of stock diameter and
planting angle interactions on growth parameters was noticed to be highly
significant (p<0.05) with the thicker stock diameter (SD2)
and the highest planting angle of 90° (PA3). The interactions
between the smaller stock diameter (SD2 and 30° planting
angle (PA1) produced the least values of growth parameters.
One of the major limitations to full exploration of Gliricidia
appears to be with regards to its establishment. The major problem have
been associated to poor seed quality, due to pods opening through explosive
mechanism, which reduces seed recovery rate (Francis and Atta-Krah, 1989).
This problem could be circumvented through the use of alternate method,
even though the use of stakes may be expensive but has some advantages
over the use of seed.
Gliricidia sepium is a browse plant that grows
in the wet and warm weather conditions, flourishing from sea-level to
heights of 1300 m (Chadhokar, 1982) or even 1600 m (Standley and Steyermark,
1946). Although the plant is easily established either from cuttings or
seeds, choice of material depend on how the plants is to be used.
In a situation where establishment is to be carried out
by cutting of stock, it, is very important to know the right size of the
stock length and planting angle of the cutting.
The dry matter yields of Gliricidia sepium in
this study increased with thicker stock diameter, longer stock length
and higher planting angles. The dry matter yields at 12 months after planting
ranged between 3.81 and 4.65 t ha-1. The dry matter yields
obtained in this experiment is similar to the findings of Adu et al.
(1996) and Smith and Houtert (1987). The higher dry matter associated
with thicker and longer stocks or cuttings may be related to better root
development and increased number of strike emergence from which growth
can take place (Guevarra et al., 1978). Oakes and Skov (1962) obtained
monthly dry matter yields of 0.99 t ha-1 during the dry season
and 1.48 t ha-1 in the wet season. The yields reported by these
workers was much lower the yield obtained from this study.
On the basis of experiments carried out on five year
old Gliricidia plants, harvested for two years at varying intervals of
2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 months, Chadhokar (1982) suggested that Gliricidia be
harvested once every 3 months to maximise foliage yield. In contrast ILCA
(1988) reported a fall in Leucena yield from 30.4 t ha-1, when
cut at 12 weeks interval, to 10.3 t ha-1 when harvested at
intervals of 6 weeks, with an accompanying higher plant mortality. In
general, these workers concluded 1t, in humid climates where emphasis
is on fodder production, short cutting intervals of 8-10 weeks appear
suitable, while the longer interval of 12-14 weeks is recommended for
the drier environment.
Although, Gliricidia sepium remain green all year
round, particularly when pruned regularly, foliage growth and retention
appear lower during the dry season demonstrating a seasonal effect. The
seasonal effect on regrowth and total biomass yield, calls for some management
strategy that will ensure adequate all-year round supply of fodder for
livestock feeding in this region. Although, the dry matter yield of the
Gliricidia plant in this study was impressive at 12 months of age, it
may be quite difficult to get all-year round supply of fodder if the plants
are not pruned during the wet season. Following the recommendations of
Smith (1991), a pruning interval of 8 weeks during the wet and 12 weeks
during the dry season may achieve this.
It was also observed from this study that the percentage
stock survival rose as the stock diameter, stock length and planting angle
were increased. The low percentage stock survival recorded for the thinner
and shorter cuttings may be explained in terms of low carbohydrate reserves
and immature stocks, Wills (1980) and Chadhokar (1982) prescribed using
mature stocks of about six months old or more.
Although, there is no agreement as to the angle which
the planted end of the stock should be cut Chadhokar (1982) recommends
an oblique angle in order to increase the terminal bark area from which
roots emerge, while Wills (1980) prefers a straight or right angle cut
as this minimizes the area of white wood tissue exposed to rot.
From the present study, it is evident that Gliricidia
sepium stakes can be established with ease. The study clearly shows
that Gliricidia sepium could easily be established in the Northern
Guinea Savanna of Nigeria, when thicker stock diameter of not less than
3.0 cm and stock length 40 cm are used. The plant, therefore promising
candidate for programmes aim at increasing the contribution of browse
to dry season forage resources.
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