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Animal Breeding and Genetics
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2003;16(6): 823-829.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2003.823    Published online January 1, 2003.
The Intake and Palatability of Four Different Types of Napier Grass (Pennisetum purpureum) Silage Fed to Sheep
G. J. Manyawu, S. Sibanda, I. C. Chakoma, C. Mutisi, P. Ndiweni
Four different types of silage from new cultivars of Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum), cv. NG 1 and NG 2, were fed to eight wethers in order to evaluate their preference and intake by sheep. The silages were prepared from direct-cut NG 1 herbage; pre-wilted NG 1 herbage; NG 1 herbage with maize meal (5% inclusion) and NG 2 herbage with maize meal (5% inclusion). All silages were palatable to sheep. Maize-treated silage had high quality fermentation, characterized by high Fleig scores and low pH, volatile fatty acids (VFA) and ammoniacal nitrogen contents. The pH, Fleig score, in vitro digestible organic matter (IVDOMD) and ammoniacal-N contents for maize-treated cv. NG 1 silage were 3.7, 78, 540 g kg-1 dry matter (DM ) and 0.18 g kg-1 DM whereas, in maize-treated cv. NG 2 they were 3.6, 59, 458 g kg-1 DM and 0.18 g kg-1 DM, respectively. The superior quality of maize-treated silages made them more preferable to sheep. Among the maize-fortified silages, palatability and intake were significantly (p<0.001) greater with cv. NG 1. Although direct-cut silage had better fermentation quality compared to wilted silage, wilted silage was significantly (p<0.001) more preferable to sheep. However, there were no significant differences (p<0.05) in the levels of preference and intake of wilted silage compared to maize-treated cv. NG 2 silage, even though the latter tended to be more palatable. There were indications that high pH (4.6 vs 3.5) and IVDOMD content (476 vs 457 g kg-1 DM) of wilted silage contributed to higher intake, compared to direct-cut silage. It was generally concluded that pre-wilting and treatment of Napier grass with maize meal at ensiling enhances intake and palatability.
Keywords: Napier Grass; Penisetum Purpureum; Silage; Pre-wilting; Maize Meal; Additives

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