Saving fresh water resources through cultivation of salt-tolerant forage grasses: seasonal and genotypic variations
Perennial grasses are one of the most important components of the farming system in the Gulf region. Traditionally, grasses meet a large percentage of the demand for green feed in the region. Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) is the most common perennial forage grass in the region. However, due to their high water requirements and reduced yields caused by increases in soil and irrigation water salinity, perennial grasses are targeted by governments and international research authorities to be replaced by less water-demanding forage grasses. Alternative perennial forages that require less water for irrigation (even low quality saline water) are being recommended as an alternative to the dominant Rhodes grass. Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris L.) is an important perennial forage grass which belongs to the family Poaceae. It produces rhizomes and is native to the Arabian Peninsula. It has sufficient salt tolerance potential and can be grown on marginal soils and in water-scare conditions.