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Production, Nutritional Quality and In vitro Methane Production from Andropogon gayanus Grass Harvested at Different Maturities and Preserved as Hay or Silage

  • Ribeiro, G.O. Jr. (Escola de Veterinaria, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais) ;
  • Teixeira, A.M. (Escola de Veterinaria, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais) ;
  • Velasco, F.O. (Escola de Veterinaria, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais) ;
  • Faria, W.G. Junior (Escola de Veterinaria, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais) ;
  • Pereira, L.G.R. (Embrapa Gado de Leite - CNPGL) ;
  • Chaves, A.V. (Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney) ;
  • Goncalves, L.C. (Escola de Veterinaria, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais) ;
  • McAllister, T.A. (Lethbridge Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)
  • Received : 2013.03.20
  • Accepted : 2013.05.09
  • Published : 2014.03.01

Abstract

Andropogon gayanus is an important grass due to its high biomass production, drought tolerance and favorable growth on low fertility acidic soils. Currently, there is little research on the impact of growth stage on the nutritional quality or the degree of $CH_4$ production that may arise from this forage during ruminal fermentation. The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of regrowth stage of A. gayanus on its chemical composition, in vitro production of gas and CH4, as well as in vitro dry matter (DM) digestibility when grown under tropical Brazilian conditions and conserved as hay or as silage. The nutritional value of A. gayanus grass declined with increasing maturity; however digestible DM yield linearly increased. After 112 d of regrowth, A. gayanus produced higher quality silage (higher lactate and lower pH and butyrate content) and higher DM yield. However, the low levels of crude protein at this time would make protein supplementation a necessity for proper rumen fermentation. No differences in $CH_4$ kinetic parameters were found with advancing maturity or preservation method (hay or silage).

Keywords

In vitro;Rumen;Methane;Maturity;Silage Quality;Tropical Grass

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