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UPDATE ON ELEPHANT GRASS RESEARCH AND ITS POTENTIAL AS A FORAGE CROP

UPDATE ON ELEPHANT GRASS RESEARCH AND ITS POTENTIAL AS A FORAGE CROP,Dave Goorahoo,Diganta Adhikari,Morton Rothberg

UPDATE ON ELEPHANT GRASS RESEARCH AND ITS POTENTIAL AS A FORAGE CROP  
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Excess nutrients from irrigation of crops with recycled wastewaters from food processing and dairy operations can be a major source of groundwater pollution. Hence, a major component of any Best Management Practice (BMP) should be the inclusion of either an agronomic crop or perennial forage capable of utilizing the nutrients applied in the wastewaters. "Promor A" perennial forage grass (Pennisetum Sp.), commonly called Elephant grass, was introduced into California in 1994, and has now been planted in five locations in the State. In this paper we present a summary of research by the Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) at California State University- Fresno, aimed at investigating the potential use of the Elephant grass to act as a scavenging crop for mitigating contamination of groundwater from fields irrigated with food processing wastewater and dairy effluent. Our findings to date indicate that the Elephant grass is a highly nutritious forage grass exhibiting efficient water use, and is a luxury feeder of nitrogen and phosphorus, thereby implying that the grass has good potential to absorb significant amounts of excess nutrients from dairy effluent and processing wastewater used for irrigation.
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