Utilisation of Ensiled Guinea Grass with Legumes for Meat Production by Bunaji Cattle in Oyo Town
Silage making is an effective way of preserving both the quantity and quality of forages which is of paramount importance in sheep production. Supplementing Legumes improves the quality of Panicum maximum. Information on P. maximum with these five legumes mixtures as silage is scanty. The potential of Panicum maximum ensiled with five types of legumes as dry season feed was therefore investigated. Silages of grasses wit legumes were made. Silage characteristics were determined. Twenty-eight Bunaji cattle were allotted to seven treatments on varying proportions of P. maximum ensiled with legumes : 100% P. maximum (1), T2=Pm-65%/35%Pp = 65% Panicum maximum +35%Pennisetum purpureus (2) , Pm-65/L-35 = 65%Panicum maximum + 35% Vigna spp. (cowpea) (3), Pm-65/A-35= 65%Panicum maximum + 35% Aeschynomene histrix +concentrate ( 4), Pm-65/C-35= 65%Panicum maximum + 35% Centrosema pubescens+concentrate (5), -65/S-35= 65%Panicum maximum + 35% Stylosanthes guianensis (6), Pm-65/V-35= 65%Panicum maximum + 35% Lablab purpureus (7) mixtures to assess Feed Intake (FI), Body Weight Gain (BWG) and Dry Matter Digestibility (DMD). Result indicated that Colour of silages was olive green with pleasant odour, firm texture, normal temperature (23-25°C) and pH range of 4.1-4.5. Least CP value was observed in diet 1 (9.0%) and highest in diet 4 (16.8%). Highest neutral detergent fibre, acid detergent fibre, acid detergent lignin were 56.1%, 39.4% and 9.4% respectively observed for diet 1. The least FI (573.87g) and BWG (23.81g) occurred in cattle fed 1 while the highest FI (715.47g) and BWG (47.62g) was reported for cattle fed 7 and 4 respectively. Least DMD (40.4%) was obtained from rams fed diet 5 while highest (56.9%) was for cattle fed diet7. 100% Panicum maximum diet had the least FI and WG while animals fed 65% Panicum maximum with 35% Lablab purpureus had the highest FI. Better feed intake, nutrient digestibility, and growth rates of rams could be achieved when 65% Panicum maximum basal diets are supplemented with either of Aeschynomene histrix or lablab purpureus at 35%. 65% Panicum maximum ensiled with 35% lablab or aeschynomene was thereby recommended.
Keywords: Bunaji cattle, silage, rumen fermentation, cultivated pastures