The seasonal growth pattern and dry matter (DM) yield of bana grass (Pennisetum purpureum x P. americanum) was compared with that of kikuyu (P. clandestinum) under irrigation. In addition, the yield and chemical composition of bana grass at different stages of regrowth and during different periods of the growing season were studied, using clipped samples from exclosures. The DM yield of bana grass (23,2 t/ha) was not significantly higher than that of kikuyu (20,2 t/ ha). For both pastures, highest DM production was realized during early autumn. Leaf: stem ratio was higher in bana grass during early summer than during late summer, but the rate of decline during regrowth was about the same for the two periods. The higher leaf: stem ratio was reflected in lower cell wall content, but the lower cell wall content did not coincide with higher digestibility. This suggests that minimal differences between the digestibility of the cell wall content of stems and leaves is a characteristic of bana grass at these growth stages. The DM yields after 40 days of regrowth were at least twice those realized when regrowth was less than 30 days. Since nutritive values were still satisfactory after six weeks but not after 12 weeks of regrowth, it is proposed that the optimum grazing stage of bana grass would be six weeks of regrowth or slightly more.
Keywords: Bana grass, kikuyu, nutritive value, season, yield