Intake and apparent digestibility of mixed silages of elephant grass pennisetum purpureum cultivar cameroon and labe labe lablab purpureus

Carneiro, A.M.; Rodriquez, N.M.; Barbosa, A.M.A.; Sanches, R.L.; Vilela, H.

Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinaria e Zootecnia 36(5): 597-608


ISSN/ISBN: 0102-0935
Accession: 005717087

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Five month old and 3.50 m high elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum, Schum cv. Cameroon) was mixed with the tropical legume labe labe (Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet). The latter was cultivated separately on an Experimental Farm in Minas Gerais (Brazil). At this point, the legume was still in its growing stage. After harvest, both forages were chopped and blended at 0, 20 and 40% of the green weight of the legume and mixed with 2.5% of molasses. Then, they were put in 200 l capacity barrels which were covered with plastic canvas. After fermentation of the silages, intake and digestibiity were tested using castrated sheep, with uniform age, breed and sex. A latin square 3 .times. 3 experimental design, with 2 replicates, was used, collection of fecal and urine samples, as well as weighing of the silages and remnants, were done. Gross protein on the silages increased significantly with the rise of the legume rate in the silages and was higher for the silages with 40% of labe labe (P < 0.05). Digestibility and intake of both dry matter and digestible dry matter were not affected by the treatments and were generally considered low. Protein digestibility was also low for all treatments and was not affected by the legume in the silage. The intakes of both gross protein and digestible protein were influenced by the legume and were higher in the mixed silages (P < 0.05). Energy intake and digestibility were not affected by the legume and were similar in the 3 treatments (P > 0.05). The balance of N was positive only in the silage with 40% of leguminosa. The other 2 silages showed negative balances. The 1st balance was significantly higher than the other 2 (P < 0.05). The few advantages given by the addition of labe-labe to elephant grass, did not compensate the more intensive preparation of the silages.