Cultivation of forage grasses, Dichanthium annulatum and Leptochloa fusca in a ridge-furrow planting system with 50 cm high ridge and 1 m between midpoints of two successive ridges was found ideal in saline black soils having salinity up to 10 dS m-1 . For maximizing forage production, Dichanthium on ridges and Leptochloa in furrows form ideal proposition. Nitrogen @ 45 kg ha-1 (in the form of urea) at the time of rooted slip planting boosts forage production and improves forage quality traits. Dichanthium has been found most suitable for saline black soils, as it possessed well-defined salt compartmentation, wherein the roots act as potential sinks for ions like sodium and chloride, making the shoot portions relatively salt free. Dichanthium is having both well defined salt exclusion mechanism and osmotic adjustment Paddy-cum fish(kharif) & low water requiring crops (Rabi) Fish (kharif) + harvested rain water Vegetables round the year which makes it salt tolerant. Leptochloa fusca also gave maximum forage yield. Furrow method of planting is suitable for cultivation of this grass. Cultivation of salt tolerant grasses like Dichanthium annulatum and Leptochloa fusca on moderate saline soils result in 1.9 t ha-1 and 3.2 t ha-1, respectively. The Unit cost is about Rs. 3000/- per ha in the first year for planting, fertilizers and labour input. The grasses used to give 3-4 cuts and together gave economic returns of about 10000/- per hectare. The technology has been widely adapted in the Bhal areas covering Tarapur, Dholka, Dhandhuka talukas and also through the NGOs in Coastal saline villages in Cambay taluka and also taken up by National Tree Growers Federation, Anand in Cambay taluka. These grasses being perennial in nature, while providing fodder also bring up the environmental stability in the area which is extremely fragile in nature.
Acharya Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology 1