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Chemical composition and grazing value of napier grass, Pennisetum purpureum Schum., grown under a grazing management practice

Blaser, R.E., Kirk, W.G., Stokes, W.E.
Agronomy journal 1942 v.34 no.2 pp. 167-174
Pennisetum purpureum, cattle, rotational grazing, range management, proximate composition, liveweight gain, grazing intensity, NPK fertilizers, sandy soils, chemical constituents of plants
Two areas of Napier grass were established on unproductive sandy soil types, fertilized differently, fenced into five paddocks, and grazed rotationally. Mass selections of disease-resistant types of Napier grass were used. Paddocks were stocked so that most grass blades were consumed in 5 to 8 days, thus allowing 20 or more days between grazings for the grass to recover. The composition of Napier grass as managed for grazing was higher in dry matter and protein than grass managed for soilage as reported by workers elsewhere. The ungrazed residue of Napier grass (primarily stems) is inferior to consumed grass in protein, ash, calcium, phosphorus, fat, and fiber, but slightly higher in carbohydrates. Highly fertilized grass produced an average of 231 animal days grazing, 369 pounds of beef per acre, and 1.60 pounds of gain daily for the 3-year period. Lightly fertilized grass produced an average of 155 animal days grazing, 219 pounds of beef per acre, and 1.41 pounds gain daily for a 2-year period. The desirability of using plants with uniform genotypes for grazing tests with tall growing grasses is suggested. Napier grass as managed for grazing in these experiments is a very palatable and nutritious grass during the entire season, as indicated by daily animal gains in excess of 1 pound. It produced much higher daily gains than other grasses tested in Florida. From the practical viewpoint Napier grass for grazing purposes appears especially desirable for use in fattening paddocks and for supplementary grazing.