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Sewan grass (Lasiurus scindicus)

Description and recommendations

Common names

Sewan grass, karera (FAO, 2010), gorkha (Khan et al., 1999)

Synonyms

Elionurus hirsutus Forssk., Lasiurus hirsutus auct., Rottboellia hirsuta auct. (USDA, 2010).

The species scindicus is often spelled sindicus (Quattrocchi, 2006).

Related feed(s)

Description

Sewan grass (Lasiurus scindicus Henrard) is a perennial grass that can live up to 20 years. It is a bushy, multi-branched desert grass with ascending to erect wiry stems, up to 1-1.6 m tall and a stout woody rhizome (FAO, 200; Ecocrop, 2010). Leaves are alternate with a thin leaf-blade. The inflorescence is a silky, 10 cm long raceme bearing hairy spikelets. The fruit is a caryopsis (Anon., 2010; eFloras, 2010; FAO, 2010; Burkill, 1985).

Sewan grass forms bushy thickets in sandy deserts where it is used for pasture, hay and fodder for livestock. This grazing pasture is of outmost importance in areas where annual rainfall is below 250 mm (Ecocrop, 2010). It is relished by ruminants but does not stand heavy grazing and disappears when overgrazed (El-Keblawy et al., 2009).

Distribution

Sewan grass is native to dry areas of North Africa, sudano-sahelian Africa, East Africa and Asia. It is found between 25-27°N latitude in dry open plains, rocky ground and gravelly soils (Quattrocchi, 2006). Optimal growth conditions are annual rainfall below 250 mm on alluvial soils or light sandy soils with a pH of 8.5 (FAO, 2010). It is highly tolerant of drought but should be protected from wind in the early stages of establishment (FAO, 2010).

Forage management

A 30-day cutting interval at 15 cm height gives the best dry matter yields. Sewan grass yields 2.7 to 10.5 t fresh forage/ha/year and up to 3.4 t DM/ha in well-established swards (FAO, 2010). Those low yields can be improved by annual seeding of companion legumes such as guar bean (Cyamopsis tetranogoloba) or mat bean (Vigna aconitifolia) (Göhl, 1982).

Environmental impact

Species like sewan grass are very important in arid environments because they provide forage, which maintains both wild mammals and livestock, and soil cover (Assaeed, 1997). Reseeding arid rangelands with species such as Lasurius scindicus that are more palatable than native species could be of interest (Khan et al., 1999). Sewan grass may be used to stabilize desert sandy dunes (Ecocrop, 2010; FAO, 2010).

In deteriorated rangelands of Saudi Arabia, sewan grass helps to control the low value and invasive species Rhazia stricta by outcompeting its seedlings. It is useful to improve rangeland management (Assaeed et al., 2001).

Ruminants

Sewan grass is one of the most important grazing grasses in north-west India (Rajasthan) and northern Pakistan in areas with less than 250 mm of rainfall, where it is sown for permanent pasture (FAO, 2010).

Grazing

Sheep and goats

Sewan grass is mainly grazed by ruminants, generally in association with Cenchrus ciliaris and Cenchrus setigerus, which occupy the same agroecological niche, especially in Rajasthan and Pakistan (Bhati et al., 1983; Gupta et al., 1984; Khan et al., 1999). Its in vitro digestibility is lower than that of Cenchrus ciliaris (Saini et al., 2007). Live weight gains in sheep and goats grazing sewan grass stands are greater during the early growing season due to the high nutritive value of the swards. During the dry period (May to June in Pakistan) goats and sheep lose weight (Khan et al., 1999). A long-term trial (2 years), in Rajasthan, showed that ewes grazing a pasture containing 70% sewan grass needed to be supplemented in spring (dry season), but not in autumn (after the monsoon) to meet their lactating requirements (Thakur et al., 1987). Lebbeck (Albizia lebbeck) pods can be an efficient supplement for sheep fed degraded sewan pasture (Ram Ratan et al., 2005). Supplementation with crushed guar seeds (Cyamopsis tetranogoloba) at 150 g/head increases DM intaked and diet digestibility in ewes grazing sewan grass (Thakur et al., 1985).

Camels

Sewan grass is a palatable pasture for camels, but supplementation is required to meet the nutritional requirements of camels (Nagpal et al., 1998; Nagpal et al., 2000; Nagpal et al., 2004). Overgrazing by camels of the arid rangelands of Saudi Arabia resulted in a reduction of sewan grass and other palatable species found in the stands (Shaltout et al., 1996 cited by El-Keblawy et al., 2009).

Hay

Sewan grass hay can be used for up to ten years (Singh, 2008).

Sewan grass hay is less digestible than buffel grass hay (Cenchrus ciliaris) (Paul et al., 1979; Sawal et al., 2009) due to its high lignin content (4 to 8 % DM) and low nitrogen level (5 to 10 % DM). Dry matter digestibility is usually poor (35 to 40 %) (Bohra, 1982), but may reach 60 % (Ram Ratan et al., 1973). Sewan grass hay cannot be used as sole source of nutrient supply to livestock and should be supplemented with local products such as guar seeds (Ram Ratan et al., 2003) or included in total mixed rations with groundnut hulls or straw, mesquite (Prosopis juliflora) pods, deoiled rice bran, rocket (Eruca sativa) oil cake or colocynth (Citrullus colocynthis) seed cake to reach 13-14% CP in DM (Sharma et al., 2006).

Silage

Mesquite (Prosopis juliflora) pods, that are available in the same climatic conditions, have a high N content and availability and are useful for making sewan silage. A 50:50 mesquite pods-sewan grass silage reaches 13% crude protein level without requiring the addition of urea or molasses (Pancholy et al., 1999).

Horses and donkeys

Horses can be fed on sewan grass hay as basal roughage in arid regions of India (Nehra et al., 2008).

Citation

Heuzé V., Tran G., Giger-Reverdin S., 2013. Sewan grass (Lasiurus scindicus). Feedipedia.org. A programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. http://www.feedipedia.org/node/421 Last updated on July 18, 2013, 15:41

Tables

Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 32.2 1.8 30.2 33.7 3  
Crude protein % DM 6.0 3.2 1.9 10.8 13  
Crude fibre % DM 42.1 5.0 34.1 55.2 13  
NDF % DM 76.9         *
ADF % DM 48.7         *
Lignin % DM 7.3         *
Ether extract % DM 2.2 2.2 0.9 8.2 10  
Ash % DM 8.5 2.2 5.7 11.9 11  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.4         *
               
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 5.1 1.8 3.3 8.5 6  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 0.7 0.5 0.2 1.6 6  
Potassium g/kg DM 9.5 6.3 3.1 21.2 6  
Sodium g/kg DM 0.1       1  
Magnesium g/kg DM 1.8 0.5 1.0 2.5 6  
Manganese mg/kg DM 30       1  
Zinc mg/kg DM 23       1  
Copper mg/kg DM 8       1  
               
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 54.5         *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 52.1         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 9.6         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 7.7         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.

References

CIRAD, 1991; Khan et al., 1999; Malik et al., 1967; Rafay et al., 2013

Last updated on 22/11/2013 14:10:58

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Crude protein % DM 5.9 1
Crude fibre % DM 38.0 1
NDF % DM 73.0 *
ADF % DM 44.2 *
Lignin % DM 6.3 *
Ether extract % DM 0.3 1
Ash % DM 11.0 1
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 17.4 *
 
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 55.2 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 51.8 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 9.0 *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 7.3 *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 51.0 1

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.

References

Sen, 1938

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:45:02

References

References

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Assaeed, A. M., 1997. Estimation of biomass and utilization of three perennial range grasses in Saudi Arabia. J. Arid Environ., 36: 103–111 web icon
Bhati, G. N. ; Mruthyunjaya, 1983. Economics of sheep farming on different pastures in arid land of western Rajasthan. Indian J. Anim. Sci., 53 (7): 732-737
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Ecocrop, 2010. Ecocrop database. FAO web icon
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Image credits

Image credits

Picture title Credits License
Sewan grass, Israël Danim Avinoam Unknown license