Thursday, July 3, 2014

Napier grass for dairy cattle feed

Pennisetum purpureum know as Napier grass or also called elephant grass.  Napier grass belongs to the sugarcane family.

It has high cellulosic fiber content. Most farmers grow Napier grass to feed their dairy cows and farmers crop their fields continuously.

Napier grass is a perennial, having much the same habit as sugarcane. It grows in clump, which consist of 30 to 200 stalks about an inch in diameter and 8 to 12 feet tall when in bloom. Napier grass can reach a very productivity up to 150m tons per hectare per year.

It is easy to maintain, permitting total mechanization. Napier is highly nutritious, grows well, even in poor soils, and produces seven times more herbage biomass than traditional grasses.

It grows on a wide range of well drained oils and is drought tolerant. High yielding cows require Napier grass no more than 42 cm high and harvested every 30 days.

Feeding trials showed that cows fed Napier grass harvested when 1.0 m tall gave significantly higher milk yields and lost significantly weight that those fed Napier cut as 1.5 m tall.

Napier grass was first cultivated in Rhodesia in 1909, and from there it has been introduced into most warm countries, it was first obtained by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1913 and is proving to be very valuable.
Napier grass for dairy cattle feed

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