Panicum maximum cv. Mombasa

Tropical forage grass and tropical pasture grass species

Mombasa guinea grass was introduced into Brazil from Tanzania in 1993, from near Korogwe, Tanzania (5.20°S 38.50°E, 290 m asl, rainfall 1,050 mm). It was introduced into Thailand in 2007. Mombasa guinea grass forms large tussocks to 2 m, with stems tinged with purple. Leaves are long, to 3 cm wide, with short hairs on the upper surface; leaf sheaths are glabrous. It has good drought and cold tolerance.

Productivity

Mombasa guinea grass is a tall grass, similar to hybrid Napier grass in habit, but far more leafy and is very suitable for cut-and-carry forage. It is a very productive leafy grass, producing between 20 and 40 t/ha dry matter per year. Dry matter yields are 28% or more than that of Tanzania guinea grass (Purple guinea).

Crude protein levels

Mombasa guinea grass produces 8-12% crude protein in Thailand on poor soils and 12-14 % crude protein on better soils.

Animal production

There are no data from Thailand, but in South America, beef cattle liveweight gains of 770 kg/ha/yr were produced from cattle grazing Mombasa guinea grass compared with 600, and 590 kg/ha/yr from Tanzania guinea grass (Purple guinea) and Tobiata guinea. It is more productive than Tanzania guinea grass (Purple guinea).

Grazing management

Mombasa guinea grass can be either rotationally grazed or set stocked. Management depends on the farmer’s experience. Most farmers in Thailand prefer cut-and-carry forage. Therefore cut every 40-45 days in the wet season and 60-70 days in the cool season.

Establishment

Sow Mombasa guinea grass seed at the beginning of the wet season in May-June when there is good rain. If the seed is sown in April, irrigation will have to be used.

  1. Plough the soil well. Remove all weeds.
  2. Disc the soil into a fine seed bed before sowing the seed at 6-8 kg/ha.
  3. Broadcast the seed over the soil and then cover the seed with only 1-2 cm of soil. Cover the seed by raking or brushing with large brooms or tree branches.
  4. If there is no rain, irrigate as soon as possible after sowing.

Seed

Seed produced in Thailand is harvested by hand and has a purity of over 98% and germinations of 70-80%. It is pure-to type with no other guinea grass seeds in Mombasa seed from Thailand.

Broadcast sowing seed on to a fine seed bed
Cover the seed by raking lightly
Mombasa guinea is a tall leafy grass
Mombasa pasture in Thailand