How Geukdong-Ph became beneficial and essential to the Filipinos. 

by Zac B. Sarian

Here is one more forage crop that could help livestock farmers cut the cost of feeds and increase their profits. Dante Delima, operations manager of Agri-Tech Integrated Services Corp., calls it Geukdong-Ph because it is similar to a grass he got from Korea that they call Geukdong.

Dante Delima posing with robust Geukdong-Ph at the ATISCO farm.

Delima has conducted planting trials as well as nutrient analysis of the harvested stems and leaves, and he is very positive about the desirable attributes of Geukdong-Ph. For one, he says the grass has a high protein content of 13.9 percent. This is higher than most other forage grasses.

Another advantage is that it is a fast growing grass that produces a lot of biomass. It produces a lot of tillers, especially when it is provided with adequate fertilizers and moisture. Geukdong-PH is also more tender than napier, hence it is well liked by animals, especially the small ruminants like sheep and goats. It is very palatable, so the animals eat practically every part of the grass.

Another desirable characteristic is that Geukdong-PH is a perennial plant. After making the first harvest which could be 60 days after planting, the plant will regrow and can be harvested again 45 to 60 days later, producing succulent forage.

Geukdong-PH can be fed fresh to animals right after cutting. But if there is a surplus harvest, the same could be made into silage for future use or for sale to other animal raisers. Ensiling further enhances palatability as well as the nutritive content. Silage can be stored for long periods.

Geukdong-PH is propagated by seed. Planting is similar to planting corn. The soil should be well prepared and furrows for planting are 50 centimeters apart. Two to three seeds are placed per hill distanced at 50 centimeters apart.

Applying organic as well as chemical fertilizer will be beneficial. To further boost growth, the plants could be sprayed with Power Grower Combo as early as when they have four leaves. This will make the plants shoot up very fast and will also promote more tillering.

Seeds for planting are now available in 150-gram packs containing 1,900 to 2,000 seeds per pack, costing only ₱100. According to Dante, if you want to produce seeds, you allow the second ratoon to reach maturity so that the plants will produce seeds.

This story appeared in Agricultural Monthly’s February 2017 issue.