The growth and long-lived growth patterns observed in many Savanna shrubs may be advantageous for survival in harsh physical environment. This study was conducted to estimate the growth potential and biomass yield of Securinega virosa, Cajanus cajan, Stylosanthes mucronata and Tephrosia purpurea in the northern region of Ghana. A total of 16 experimental beds of size 4 x 4 m with 1 m spacing between beds were constructed. Observation after sowing was made daily to record emergence. Plant growth parameters were taken fortnightly for 13 weeks on four representative plants randomly selected from each species. The biomass production data were subjected to two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) assuming a complete randomised design. C. cajan had the highest germination of 75% observed from 3-5 days after planting, while S. virosa recorded the least germination of 63% observed from 5-8 days after planting. C. cajan and T. purpurea had the highest growth rate, while S. virosa showed very low growth rate. S. mucronata had the largest mean stem diameter, followed by C. cajan and T. purpurea and S. virosa being the smallest. Similarly, S. mucronata obtained the highest mean number of shoots followed by S. virosa, while T. purpurea had the least. Linear and positive relationships were observed among plant height, stem diameter and number of shoots of all the shrubs. No significant difference in mean total dry matter yield among the shrub species and among the different maturity stages was recorded. All the shrubs except S. virosa produced seeds. Livestock farmers are encouraged to adopt and integrate these shrubs in their farming system to provide adequate forage to boost animal production.
Key words: Indigenous shrubs, animal feed, germination, plant growth, biomass yield.
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