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False Rhodes grass (Trichloris crinita)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This datasheet is pending revision and updating; its contents are currently derived from FAO's Animal Feed Resources Information System (1991-2002) and from Bo Göhl's Tropical Feeds (1976-1982).

Datasheet

Description
Click on the "Nutritional aspects" tab for recommendations for ruminants, pigs, poultry, rabbits, horses, fish and crustaceans
Common names 

False rhodes grass, two flowered trichloris, multiflowered chloris [English]; papalote, triverdin de tres [Spanish, Mexico]

 

Synonyms 

Leptochloa crinita , Chloris crinita (Lag.), Chloris mendocina Phil., Trichloris mendocina (Phil.) Kurtz

Taxonomic information 

In 2012, the genus Trichloris was embedded in Leptochloa and the species T. crinita was renamed L. crinita (Snow et al., 2012). However 

Related feed(s) 
Description 

False Rhodes grass (Trichloris crinita) is a perennial grass native to the arid tropical and subtropical areas of the American continent. This is a warm season  C4 forage with good palatability and nutritive value. It plays an important role in livestock production in arid and semi-arid zones.

Morphology

False Rhodes grass is a showy, leafy, (sometimes) stoloniferous perennial bunchgrass that reaches 0.7-1 m in height and follows the C4 phtosynthetic pathway. The leaves are flat, linear, 20 cm  long x 0.5-1 cm wide, coarsely hairy of their upper surface, completely covered with a waxy coating. The seed-head is a conspicuous feathery digitate panicle, white in colour, borne at the apex of a blueish green slender culm. The spikelets are small and solitary, with one sterile floret and a fertile one below. The glumes are lanceolate, pubescent and persistent, with the upper glume apex composed of three awns, the central awn longer than the laterals awns. False rhodes grass is autogamous (Barkworth, 2021; ACE, 2020; Kozub et al., 2017). 

Uses 

This grass is tolerant of trampling and grazing. It has excellent forage value to livestock and wildlife and provides good nesting cover to ground nesting birds (Barkworth, 2021; Silva Colomer et al., 1989; Wainstein et al., 1969). It is considered suitable to be used in reclamation processes (Gil Baez et al., 2015).

Distribution 

False rhodes grass is native to arid areas of both North and South America. It is found at elevations up to 1500 m in both hemispheres, in dry flats, canyons and rocky slopes (ACE, 2020). It grows as soon as residual water is available in the soil and the temperature is above 10°C. In natural grasslands it is often found in association with other C4 grasses, shrubs (belonging to genus Larrea), and some tree species from the genus Prosopis (Kozub et al., 2017). False rhodes grass is considered a halophyte or salt tolerant species (Brevedan et al., 1994)

False rhodes grass agronomic traits like high tolerance to drought and salinity, to trampling and grazing and its nutritive value suggest that this species could be used in breeding programms to enhance the quality of  South-American drylands (Kozub et al., 2017). It was suggested that dry environments could play a role in selecting grazing-resistant genotypes and that high grazing pressure history environments would be favourable to select drought-resistant ones (Quiroga et al., 2010).

Forage management 

Forage production

Forage yields were reported to be very variable: dry matter (DM)  yields could range in experimental plots from 0.34 to 6.64 tons/ha and in experimental fields from 1.5 to 3.66 tons DM/ha (Kozub et al., 2017). False rhodes grass yields (150 g DM/m²) ranked first ahead other native species in the arid grasslands of Argentina whose yields were mainly under 60 g DM/m² (Cavagnaro et al., 1983 cited by Kozub et al., 2017). In North-western Argentina, fresh matter yield of false rhodes grass was 10-11.9 t. False rhodes grass was the highest yielding native species of the region (Diaz et al., 1972).

To preserve forage production, it was recommended to let 15 cm above ground after cutting or grazing for optimal yield.  Intense defoliation (lower than 5 cm above ground) destroyed the basal buds situated in the crown and was detrimental to tillering and compromised forage yield. Frequent or intense cutting (i.e., cutting at ≤5 cm from ground level) also reduced reseeding capacity because the plants are not able to flower (Cavagnaro et al, 1983 cited by Kozub et al., 2017).

In Patagonia (Argentina), it was found that keeping false rhodes grass free of grazing during summer and fall could enhance its forage value as deferred feed in winter and increase its yields (Klich, 2014). It was further shown that in areas with harsh conditions, adequate management of false rhodes grass could provide livestock with forage of relatively good nutritional value and high digestibility (Klich, 2020).

Environmental impact 

False rhodes grass was suggested to be useful in protection against soil erosion (Dalmasso, 1994)

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 

Crude protein content of false rhodes grass compared to other native grasses of the arid area of Chaco was found to rank high in almost all periods and could reach 15.88% in December (Ferrando et al., 2006)

Ruminants 

Literature is scarce on the use and recommendations for ruminants grazing false rhodes grass. It has however, often been referred to as a valuable forage resource for livestock in extended semiarid rangeland territories of South America (Ruiz Leal 1972; Ragonese 1951 cited by Brevedan et al., 1994). 

In arid area of Chaco (Northern Argentina), the crude protein content of false rhodes grass was fair (7-9%) and its in vitro DM digestibility was 40-50% on average but could decrease to 30-40% depending on season and range condition (Cerqueira et al., 2004). These values were somewhat different in Patagonia (Southern Argentina), where false rhodes grass crude protein content was ranging from 11.5 to 15% and IVDMD was between 57.7% and 67.8 % (Klich, 2020).

False rhodes grass could be used as deffered feed for cows during winter: it provided higher DM and cow's intake was higher (Klich, 2014).

Rabbits 

No information seems available in the international literature (March 2021) on the use of false rhodes grass in domestic rabbit feeding. However it is consumed by the local herbivorous rodents such as Chacoan cavy (Pediolagus salinicola), Mendoza tuco-tuco (Ctenomys mendocinus) or mara (Dolichotis patagonum) (Reus et al., 2012; Puig et al., 1999; Rosati et al., 1995). It is also consumed by the introduced European hare (Reus et al., 2013), also relished by domestic livestock (El Shaer et al., 2016;Klich, 2014; Brevedan et al., 2013).
For all these reasons, false rhodes grass may be considered as a potential forage for rabbit feeding. It is a forage with a potential rich protein content which can vary, in the leaves, from 20% in DM when young, down to 9% in DM when the plant arrives at maturity (El Shaer et al., 2016). In the same time interval, the fibre content remains quite constant : 67-70% NDF in DM, and the lignin content stays relatively low : 2-4% of ADL in DM (Klich 2020).

As for other feed materials poorly or not studied in rabbit feeding, direct experiments with rabbits would be welcome to determine the limits of introduction in the diet.

Nutritional tables
Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value 
References
References 
Datasheet citation 

DATASHEET UNDER CONSTRUCTION. DO NOT QUOTE. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/657 Last updated on July 26, 2021, 13:57