Tropical kudzu can be cultivated alone or in association with several erect grasses such as Para grass (Brachiaria mutica), bread grass (Brachiaria brizantha), cori grass (Brachiaria miliiformis), Congo grass (Brachiaria ruziziensis), Gamba grass (Andropogon gayanus), molasses grass (Melinis minutiflora), Guinea grass (Megathyrsus maximus) and elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum). However, it does not as well with signal grass (Brachiaria decumbens) and pangola grass (Digitaria eriantha) (FAO, 2015; Cook et al., 2005). In oil palm plantations, tropical kudzu gave the highest yield in association with Guinea grass or Congograss (Ezenwa et al., 1996). When it is intended to be used in association with grasses, tropical kudzu should be oversown in the pre-existing grass pasture. It has a positive effect on grass growth and remains productive when the grass suffers from drought (Telford et al., 1947)
Tropical kudzu is mainly propagated by seeds. It seeds should be scarified before being broadcasted or drilled onto a well-prepared, weed-free seedbed. For pasture purpose, a good seeding rate is 0.5-1 kg seeds/ha. In places where tropical kudzu is new, the seeds should be inoculated with an appropriate strain of Bradyrhizobium (Halim, 1997). When seeds are not available, vegetative propagation can be done by planting rooted stolons at 1-2 m distance. Tropical kudzu should be planted at the beginning of the rainy season. Under irrigation, a valuable stand can be obtained in less than 6 months (Telford et al., 1947). The first months of establishment are somewhat difficult and require weeding. After that, the tropical kudzu becomes more agressive and effectively smothers weeds (Halim, 1997). Tropical kudzu grows 12 months a year (Telford et al., 1947)
Tropical kudzu may be grazed or cut for cut-and-carry or to make hay or silage. Dry matter yields are very variable, ranging from a 3-6 t/ha to over 20 /ha, depending on the cultivation method (alone or in association; under trees in plantation or a sole crop in stand) (Ezenwa et al., 1996; Magat et al., 1976). In Nigeria, yields of tropical kudzu in mixture with guinea grass were under 5.9 tons DM/ha under oil palm trees (Ezenwa et al., 1996).
As tropical kudzu is sensitive to defoliation and very palatable to livestock (Skerman et al., 1990), it should not be heavily grazed, particularly when grown on poorly drained soils. Continuous or rotational lenient grazing is recommended. Tropical kudzu was reported to be poorly persistent after two years grazing when it was sown in poorly drained, compact soils (Halim, 1997). A stocking rate of 2-6 local cattle on a mixed sward of tropical kudzu/grass significantly reduced tropical kudzu ratio in only one year (Halim, 1997). Though not very resistant to high stocking rates when grazed, it could be successfully used in Acre, Brazil, where it helped establishing new pastures for cattle production (Valentim et al., 2005). It was recommended not to cut below 25 cm high for better rooting and drought resistance in a tropical kudzu/molasses grass mixture (Halim, 1997).
Hay and silage
Tropical kudzu can be dried and into hay. It could yield 4 t of hay in Colombia (Skerman et al., 1990). It was shown that the optimal cutting interval for hay quality was 60 days (Hiep et al., 2008a). It was also possible to make silage from a mixture of tropical kudzu and elephant grass or from a mixture of tropical kudzu and Pennisetum purpurescans (Skerman et al., 1990).