Faculty of Animal Husbandry at Gadjah Mada University (UGM) developed Gama Umami grass or mutation of elephant grass or Bulrushthat has been irradiated with gamma rays to produce superior grass. Elephant grass was chosen because it is a superior type of grass and is preferred by ruminants or grazing livestock such as cows or goats. In addition, elephant grass is also very suitable to be developed in Indonesia, which is a tropical country. The yield of Gama Umami grass is higher than the local elephant grass and in one year, it can be harvested up to 6 times.
Nafiatul Umami, Ph.D., a Lecturer at the Faculty of Animal Husbandry at UGM as well as head researcher of grass Gama Umami said that the mutations with gamma ray radiation can affect morphology, anatomy, and physiology plant to produce plants that are superior to their parents. Application of gamma ray radiation is used on vegetative organs, flowers, and seeds of elephant grass plants. The radiation process on elephant grass produces a variety of plant types and produces more productive plants, seen from the morphology, anatomy, biochemistry, production and physiology of plants.
This research was conducted by the Faculty of Animal Husbandry at UGM in collaboration with the National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN) through the Isotope and Radiation Application Center (PAIR). From this study, it is known that the radiation results affect the hair on the elephant grass Gama Umami which greatly affects the ability to taste food in ruminants.
Gama Umami grass has been introduced and developed by breeders, especially in the Yogyakarta and surrounding areas. Satria Aji, for example, a farmer from Bumi Kayangan Farm Gunung Kidul who has planted Gama Umami on his land said that the grass has an extraordinary growth power. The percentage to grow is good from tall stem cuttings, large shoots, and it can reach 10 shoots at the initial planting in the dry season.
Meanwhile, Cahyo Kurmai, a farmer from Banyumas, said that besides being easy to develop, Gama Umami has greener leaves than other grasses. He added that the umami grass has soft stems. So, the cattle can eat it all without chopping it.