A new hybrid “Super Napier” developed and produced in Thailand took center stage during a technical seminar held on May 6 at the national headquarters of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) in the Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija.
Known as “Pakchong 1”, the Super Napier was developed by Dr. Krailas Kiyothong of Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development (DLD).
Dr. Kiyothong himself served as the resource person during the technical seminar entitled “Super Hybrid Napier: Production and Utilization” and “Buffalo Extension in Thailand”.
The seminar participants consisted of PCC officials, scientists, animal nutrition experts and researchers as well as farmers from the dairy carabao communities in PCC’s National Impact Zone (NIZ).
Dr. Kiyothong said Pakchong 1 is a cross of ordinary napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) and pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum). He said it took about six years to develop the Super Napier.
Napier grass, also known as elephant grass or Ugandan grass, is a species of perennial tropical grass recommended as forage for dairy animals in the Philippines. Several dairy farmers in Nueva Ecija are used to growing napier grass or gathering it along river banks or other areas for their animal feed.
Pakchong 1 packs a lot of advantages over the ordinary napier grass. It yields more crude protein of about 16 to 18 percent, according to the Thai expert.
In contrast, the ordinary napier contains only about 8 to 12 percent crude protein at harvest time of 45 to 55 days.
Dr. Kiyothong added that using Pakchong 1, a dairy farmer can harvest about 500 tons of grass in one year per hectare of land. He said the ordinary napier grass yield is only about 360-400 tons per hectare.
“It also grows taller,” the Thai expert said. “It can also be ratooned once established in the field and harvesting can be done every 45 to 48 days,” he added.
Dr. Felomino V.Mamuad, PCC officer in charge, said that by June this year PCC will be importing Pakchong 1 planting materials.
He said additional studies will also be conducted regarding the adaptability of Pakchong 1 under Philippine conditions and to know better the benefits that it can provide for dairy buffaloes in the institutional herd of PCC and those in the hands of the PCC-assisted dairy farmers.