R. Y. Aderinboye, S. T. Adebayo, V. O. A. Ojo, K. O. Adebayo, O. A. Isah


Panicum maximum was harvested at 6, 8, 10 and 12 weeks of growth to determine its nutrient composition, in vitro nutrient digestibility and energy value (metabolizable energy, short chain fatty acids and methane production) using standard analytical methods and equations. The dry matter content of Panicum maximum increased with increased growth. Crude protein content reduced (P < 0.05) with maturity from 6 weeks (10.55%) to 12 weeks (7.39%). Panicum at 6, 8 and 10 weeks of growth had lower (P < 0.05) Neutral Detergent Fibre (42.87–46.93%), Acid Detergent Fibre (23.19–30.69%) and lignin (7.82–10.58%) contents compared with values at 12 weeks of growth. At 24 and 48 h post-incubation, the in vitro dry matter, crude protein and organic matter digestibility, short-chain fatty acids and metabolizable energy at 6 and 8 weeks were higher (P < 0.05) with less methane produced per gram of dry matter degraded. It can be concluded that, harvesting Panicum maximum for ruminant feeding at ages between 6 and 8 weeks will supply animals with high crude protein and adequate fibre which can be better digested in the rumen. The higher short chain fatty acids, higher metabolizable energy and lower methane production at these growth stages indicates an efficient supply of dietary energy in the rumen for utilization by ruminants.


Panicum maximum, growth stage, digestibility, energy value, ruminants

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