Theme 2: Forage--Oral Sessions

Description

Urochloa grass mainly grown in South America, East Asia and Australia has its origin in East and Central Africa. Its success in South America for animal production triggered interest in Kenya where the main forage species Napier grass was threatened by head smut and stunt diseases. Therefore, a study was carried out at Mtwapa research station in the coastal lowlands of Kenya under controlled condition to compare the lactation performance of dairy cattle fed on Urochloa hybrid cv. Mulato II, U. decumbens cv. Basilisk, U. brizantha cvs. Piata, MG-4 and Xaraes with Napier grass. An on-farm participatory study was conducted in eastern midlands of Kenya where farmers compared their local feeds (varied mixtures of Napier grass, maize stover and natural pastures) with either Piata, Xaraes, MG-4 or Basilisk). Results from the on-station experiment showed no significant differences (P < 0.05) in daily milk yield between dairy cows fed Piata (4.7 kg) and those fed on Napier grass (4.6 kg) while cows fed on either Mulato II or Xaraes produced less (P < 0.05) milk; 4.4 and 3.6 kg respectively. In the farmers’ trial, milk yield increased by 15 - 40% when they fed their cows on Urochloa grasses. The studies concluded that Urochloa grasses had potential to replace or compliment Napier grass in dairy feeding in Kenya towards increased milk production.

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Milk Yield of Dairy Cattle Fed Common Urochloa Grass in Kenya

Urochloa grass mainly grown in South America, East Asia and Australia has its origin in East and Central Africa. Its success in South America for animal production triggered interest in Kenya where the main forage species Napier grass was threatened by head smut and stunt diseases. Therefore, a study was carried out at Mtwapa research station in the coastal lowlands of Kenya under controlled condition to compare the lactation performance of dairy cattle fed on Urochloa hybrid cv. Mulato II, U. decumbens cv. Basilisk, U. brizantha cvs. Piata, MG-4 and Xaraes with Napier grass. An on-farm participatory study was conducted in eastern midlands of Kenya where farmers compared their local feeds (varied mixtures of Napier grass, maize stover and natural pastures) with either Piata, Xaraes, MG-4 or Basilisk). Results from the on-station experiment showed no significant differences (P < 0.05) in daily milk yield between dairy cows fed Piata (4.7 kg) and those fed on Napier grass (4.6 kg) while cows fed on either Mulato II or Xaraes produced less (P < 0.05) milk; 4.4 and 3.6 kg respectively. In the farmers’ trial, milk yield increased by 15 - 40% when they fed their cows on Urochloa grasses. The studies concluded that Urochloa grasses had potential to replace or compliment Napier grass in dairy feeding in Kenya towards increased milk production.