RANGELAND RESEARCH INSTITUTE
FORAGE AND PASTURE
- To evaluate forage germplasm under different ecological conditions.
- To study eco-physiology of range plants.
- To test adaptation trials of shrubs and trees for fodder, fuel and soil conservation.
- To evaluate nutritional value of forages.
Forage grasses growing at NARC nursery were clipped during spring and monsoon seasons and data on fresh and dry weights were recorded. Highest dry matter of 5.5 t/ha during spring season was produced by Cenchrus ciliaris ecotype RMF 270 followed by the ecotype RMF 269 with 5.3 t/ha dry matter. Panicum antidotale ecotype RMF 254 was the highest yielding with 8.66 t/ha dry matter followed by ecotype RMF 247 with 7.13 t/ha while the ecotype RMF 251 was the lowest yielding (less than 5 t/ha dry matter). Among other grasses, mot grass and elephant grass were outstanding for forage yield producing 27 and 15 t/ha dry matter, respectively. In monsoon Cenchrus ciliaris ecotype RMF 269 was high yielding with 7.3 t/ha dry matter, while ecotype RMF 273 produced 6.2 t/ha dry matter. Different ecotypes of Panicum antidotale were relatively low yielding with less than 5 t/ha dry matter. Mot grass during monsoon season produced almost 100 t/ha fresh and 30 t/ha dry matter.
To maximize forage yield and quality, an experiment on grass legume mixtures was conducted at NARC. Blue panic grass (Panicum antidotale) and Rice bean legume (Vigna umbellata) were sown alone and in planting ratio of 25:75, 50:50 and 75:25. The data revealed that highest fresh and dry matter yields were obtained in the mixtures of rice bean and blue panic in the ratio of 75:25 yielding fresh matter of almost 20 t/ha and 6.5 t/ha dry matter.
- To conduct research studies on various agro-forestry systems involving multi-purpose tree species (MPTS) suited to various ecological zones.
- To develop sustainable and economically viable agroforestry packages for farmers for enhanced income.
- To establish a nursery to raise the saplings of MPTS for project experiments and for distribution among the progressive farmers of the area and for on-farm demonstration
Eucalyptus had an adverse effect on wheat yield on its 6th year of growth. This is because of soil moisture and nutrients competition with wheat crop.
Leucaena leucocephala did not affect the wheat yield adversely.
Height, diameter and volume of Eucalyptus did not reveal a significant difference as affected by fertilizer application or inter-cropping.
Biomass yield of iple iple as affected by various clipping heights was studied. Cutting at 10 cm yielded highest biomass (dry matter), the fuelwood as well as forage yield were more as compared to clipping at 75 cm and 150 cm.
Stump planting (root-shoot cutting) of iple iple in spring has proved suc-cessful and economical technique as compared to potted seedlings.
APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGIES FOR SOIL CONSERVING FARMING SYSTEMS
- To develop prototype, cost effective sloping agricultural land technology (SALT) models particularly for hilly areas, to enhance the productivity of agricultural land while conserving soil and its fertility.
- To spread awareness about SALT through training, workshops, ex-change of experience and net-working of national institu-tions/agencies in implementing the SALT programme; and introduce several other appropriate techno-logies such as polythene film techno-logy and urea molasses block technology with the SALT systems.
Establishment of Nursery
To have an assured supply of planting material, a nursery of multi-purpose trees and shrubs have been established at NARC and at project site Maira Begowal where seed and other planting material received from various local as well exotic sources is being raised.
Establishment of Hedgerows
Different leguminous species were tried for the establishment of hedgerows. At present more than 4000 meters of double hedgerows of various multi-purpose, nitrogen fixing tree and shrub species have been raised at two sites.Soil samples are periodically analyzed to study the changes in fertility due to SALT activities. A promising technique for renovation of nutrient poor soils developed in Kenya called "Katumani Trenches" was introduced to capture potentially lost run-off water in a contiguous series of micro-catchments or pits, each about 2m in area, constructed down the slope.
Biomass obtained from cutting of the hedgerows was spread in the alleys to add organic matter in the soil. Leaves and branches act as mulch before decomposition. Wooden portion of the branches left after shedding the leaves were placed along the plants in the hedgerows to make them more dense. In addition to this, natural low quality vegetation removed from the alleys was also used for soil mulching. It is improving physico-chemical properties of the soils.
Establishment of Fodder Bank
In area which was not fit for agriculture due to certain limitations, fodder bank was established by raising different nitrogen fixing leguminous species. All the species tried in the hedgerows were planted making eyebrow pits. However, the plants raised in hedgerows showed better growth as compared to those raised in the fodder bank. This may be because of availability of more moisture in the hedgerows as compared to eyebrow pits.
Fruit Tree Planting
Various fruit plants like Falsa (Grewia asiatica), Jaman (Syzygium cummunii), Annar (Punica granatum), Loquat (Eriobotyria japonica), Amrud (Pisidium gujava), Amla (Phallanthus emblica) were planted in the project area around the homesteads. Special attention will be given to the introduction of olives (Olea europea) which has great potential for establishment and success in the area as wild variety of olives is naturally growing there. Grafting of the plants of wild olive (Olea ferrugina) growing naturally in the area was done with different varieties (Olea europea) in August, 1996 in collaboration with Horticulture Research Institute, NARC. The results are very encouraging. For silk worm rearing (sericulture) high yielding dwarf varieties of mulberry imported from China and Japan were planted along the borders of the farm.
OPERATIONAL RANGE RESEARCH PROJECT, POTHWAR
- To test pasture establishment techniques suitable to Pothwar tract.
- To evaluate suitability of deferred rotation grazing system.
- To determine economic feasibility of ranching operations on marginal lands.
Various pasture establishment techniques suitable for subtropical dry areas of Pothwar were developed.
Deferred rotation grazing system has been found very suitable for rehabilitation of degraded lands of the Pothwar tract. Because this system provides sufficient time for production of seed from re-seeded areas.
A ranching model has been developed for the Pothwar area. This model can be adopted in other areas having similar ecological and socio-economic conditions. By adopting this model not only un-productive lands can be made productive, but also their further degradation will be halted.
- Following research based technologies were developed, tested and evaluated by the Institute for the end users.
- Introduction and development of shelter belts for deserts.
- Acclimatization and introduction of Salt Agricultural Land technology.
- Development of ranching model for Pothwar tract.
- Establishment of high-tech low-cost nurseries.
Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad Qamar, PSO/ Director