Dry Matter Intake, Digestibility and Milk Yield by Friesian Cows Fed Two Napier Grass Varieties

  • Gwayumba, W. (Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan) ;
  • Christensen, D.A. (Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan) ;
  • McKinnon, J.J. (Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan) ;
  • Yu, P. (Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan)
  • Received : 2001.09.06
  • Accepted : 2001.11.27
  • Published : 2002.04.01


The objective of this study was to compare two varieties of Napier grass (Bana Napier grass vs French Cameroon Napier grass) and to determine whether feed intake, digestibility, average daily gain (ADG) and milk yield of lactating Friesian cows from fresh cut Bana Napier grass was greater than from French Cameroon Napier grass, using a completely randomized design. Results show that Bana Napier grass had similar percent dry matter (DM), ash and gross energy (GE) to French Cameroon. Bana grass had higher percent crude protein (CP) and lower fiber fractions, acid detergent fibre (ADF), neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and lignin compared to French Cameroon. Overall the forage quality was marginally higher in Bana Napier grass compared to French Cameroon. The DM and NDF intake expressed as a percentage of body weight (BW) were similar in both Napier grass types. Both grasses had similar digestible DM and energy. Bana had higher digestible CP but lower digestible ADF and NDF than French Cameroon. Bana Napier was not different from French Cameroon when fed as a sole diet to lactating cows in terms of low DM intake, milk yield and a loss of BW and condition. To improve the efficient utilization of both Napier grass varieties, a supplement capable of supplying 1085-1227 g CP/d and 17.0-18.0 Mcal ME/d is required for cows to support moderate gains 0.22 kg/d and 15 kg 4% fat corrected milk/d.


Supported by : National Agricultural Research Centre (Kitale)


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