Response of six tropical grasses to prescribed burning in the west coast of Mexico



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Texas Tech University


A three-year study (1982-1984) was conducted at two research stations (INIFAP) in the State of Nayarit, Mexico, in conjunction with the Department of Range and Wildlife Management, Texas Tech University. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the effect of fire on the yield and forage quality of six grass species commonly used as cultivated pastures in that area. Guinea grass (Panicum maximum) and jaragua grass (Hyparrhenia rufa) were studied at Gilberto Flores M. Experimental Station. Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris), green panic (P. ma. var. trichoglume), African star grass (Cynodon plectostachyus), and ferrer bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) were studied at El Macho Experimental Station. Both sites are close to the Pacific Ocean. Each year in late spring experimental areas were burned, and main weather conditions at the time of the burning were recorded. When regrowth initiated, grasses were sampled at 15-day intervals to determine accumulative forage and quality of burned and control plants through m.aturation. The response of grasses to fire varied with species. In general, yield and forage quality of guinea, jaragua, African star, and ferrer bermuda was not improved by fire. Buffel and green panic grasses showed a positive response to fire in both yield and forage quality. Burning is ordinarily utilized by ranchers in those areas,and it may be conducted to eliminate old growth, to maintain pastures free of weeds, and to reduce certain insect pests. Results obtained are of great value for pasture management and animal supplement implications.



Prescribed burning, Grasses, Range management