Track 1-11

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In the tropics, inadequate nutrition caused by scarcity of forages and its low quality constitutes a major constraint to good performance of ruminant animals (Lukuyu et al. 2011). Herbage availability during the wet season often exceeds animal requirements (Chakoma et al. 1999). As the dry season sets in, the protein level of the accumulated forages drops and the fibre level increases, with an increase in lignin content while voluntary intake decreases. Due to lack of quality forage especially in the dry season, animals feeding on them tend to lose weight and their productivity will be negatively affected.

In order to reduce the limitations of feeds for ruminant animals especially during dry season, there is need to develop feed conservation strategies. The use of high quality forages appears to be the most feasible option to serve this purpose. Therefore, conservation of excess forages produced in the rainy season can be utilized as supplements during the dry season to be able to alleviate poor performance of ruminant animals and will also enhance incomes of small-scale farmers.

The aim of this study was to determine the suitability of conserved forages (hay and silage) from the natural grazing land as dry season supplementary feed for ruminant animals grazing in natural pastureland.

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Nutritive Quality of Hay and Silage from Natural Grazing Land in South Western Nigeria

In the tropics, inadequate nutrition caused by scarcity of forages and its low quality constitutes a major constraint to good performance of ruminant animals (Lukuyu et al. 2011). Herbage availability during the wet season often exceeds animal requirements (Chakoma et al. 1999). As the dry season sets in, the protein level of the accumulated forages drops and the fibre level increases, with an increase in lignin content while voluntary intake decreases. Due to lack of quality forage especially in the dry season, animals feeding on them tend to lose weight and their productivity will be negatively affected.

In order to reduce the limitations of feeds for ruminant animals especially during dry season, there is need to develop feed conservation strategies. The use of high quality forages appears to be the most feasible option to serve this purpose. Therefore, conservation of excess forages produced in the rainy season can be utilized as supplements during the dry season to be able to alleviate poor performance of ruminant animals and will also enhance incomes of small-scale farmers.

The aim of this study was to determine the suitability of conserved forages (hay and silage) from the natural grazing land as dry season supplementary feed for ruminant animals grazing in natural pastureland.