Energy deficiency in kikuyu grass containing high levels of nitrogen

Author: J.P. Marais, D.L. Figenschou and G.A.J. Woodley
Year: 1990
Issue: 1
Volume: 20
Page: 16 - 20

Elevated rumen ammonia levels in sheep on high nitrogen kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum Hochst) grass were indicative of a protein/energy imbalance in the grass. To correct the imbalance, grass containing 22% crude protein required maize meal supplementation of at least 20% on a dry basis. Unsupplemented high nitrogen kikuyu grass had a low dry-matter intake and digestibility. The efficiency of conversion of plant nitrogen into microbial protein in the rumen was probably poor and resulted in a large proportion of the ingested nitrogen being excreted in the urine. Maize meal supplementation improved the dry-matter intake and significantly increased the apparent retention of nitrogen and gross energy of the kikuyu grass.



Keywords: digestibility, intake, maize meal supplementation
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