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Super Napier is now here.

Since we first wrote about Pakchong 1, the so-called Super Napier from Thailand, more than a year ago, so many people have been asking us where they could source planting materials.

Now, the planting materials are available. One of the very few who had the initiative to acquire planting materials is the King Ranch in Batangas. A big area in the farm is planted to different growth stages of the fast-growing grass.

Alex Carlos will tell you that Pakchong 1 is really very fast growing. From the few kilos of planting materials that they initially got, they have now planted a big part of their property. The first plants are now harvestable for planting material.

The canes of the plants for planting are cut into cuttings with three nodes each. These are planted like sugarcane. The cuttings are laid on the furrow and covered with a layer of soil then irrigated. With the proper moisture in the soil, the cuttings will sprout in a week or two, the tillers emerging from the three nodes. As many as ten canes can develop from one seedpiece.

When it is time to harvest for feeding to animals or for planting materials, the rootstock will produce ratoons that may number more than 20 tillers. The tillers also grow very fast with adequate moisture and fertilizer. Spraying the plants with Power Grower Combo, a plant growth accelerator, will also hasten the growth of the plants.

FOR DAIRY IN THAILAND -- In Pakchong district in Thailand where Dr. Krailas Kyiothong developed the super grass, it is mainly used for feeding dairy cattle. There, some enterprising business-minded farmers now specialize in growing Pakchong 1 for sale to the big and relatively small dairy farmers, including those raising in their backyards.

FOR SMALL ANIMALS AND FISH, TOO -- King Carlos, son of Alex who recently visited Dr. Kyiothong in Thailand, observed that Super Napier is also fed to tilapia, ducks, free-range chickens and pigs. For this purpose, the 45-day-old grass is harvested. It is finely shredded and fed to tilapia. The same is done for chickens and pigs.

The Super Napier is said to contain about 17 to 18 percent crude protein. This makes it highly suitable for feeding the fish and small animals. For those growing organic pigs, the shredded Pakchong 1 could be incorporated in the fermented feeds like what Jess Domingo is doing with his pig feed in Alfonso Lista, Ifugao.

According to King Carlos, he was told by Dr. Kyiothong that if you use the same in vermiculture, the resulting organic fertilizer will have a higher nitrogen content.

DIFFERENT FROM OLD NAPIER -- The Super Napier is in significant ways different from the ordinary napier grown by local farmers. First of all, it is very high-yielding. In Thailand, it has been recorded that it can produce as much as 500 tons per hectare in one year. The plant is cut every 45 to 60 days, depending on the usage.

Another significant difference is that the leaves are smooth and without hair. That is why the animals love to eat it. It is also sweetish so it is highly palatable besides being very nutritious.

King Ranch said that the planting materials can be picked up in Metro Manila or shipped by courier to the provinces. One pick up point is in Teresa, Rizal.

CORN BORER LARVA AS HUMAN FOOD -- Did you know that the larva of the most destructive Asiatic Corn Borer (ACB) is not only nutritious but also delicious as human food?

Dr. Merdelyn Caasi-Lit, a senior scientist of the Institute of Plant Breeding in UP Los Ba?os, will tell you that she loves to eat the ACB instar that is four days old. Of course, she says that the instar should be produced in the laboratory so that it is clean. ACB instar as well as those of other lepidopterous insects are likewise nice to eat but not those caught in the wild because they may be polluted.

Dr. Caasi-Lit is an expert in mass producing insect larvae in the laboratory. That's part of her job at the IPB. She has been studying the possible alternate hosts of the corn pest when corn is not available. She talked about the results she has gotten so far during the national scientific convention of the Pest Management Council of the Philippines (PMCP) in Cebu City last May 6-9.

There are many alternate hosts, the most popular of which is the Brachiaria mutica, a common weed. Another is what they call "mais-maisan" in Pangasinan.

It is important to know the alternate hosts of the pest so that the right intervention can be implemented when necessary.

ORGANIC PIG PRODUCTION TRAINING -- So many people are showing interest in organic pig production after we wrote recently about the profitable organic pig project of Jess Domingo in Alfonso Lista, Ifugao. Just two days ago, a group of accountants visited us in our office because they would like to know where they can train on organic pig production.

Since they are from Manila, the first person that came to our mind is Ronald Costales of Costales Nature Farms in Majayjay, Laguna. The seminar will take two days to finish. The trainees will have to stay overnight at the lodging facility of Costales.

The two-day training will include lectures as well as hands-on practice in constructing the pig house, compounding feeds with locally available materials, taking care of the brood sow, the piglets and other aspects of the project. You can search the address of the Costales farm in the internet. If you have a copy of Agriculture Magazine published by the Manila Bulletin, you can also see his advertisement there.

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Title Annotation:Agriculture
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9THAI
Date:May 14, 2014
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