The value of kikuyu foggage for overwintering dry ewes

Author: J.F. de Villiers, T.J. Dugmore, W.A. Botha and J.J. Wandrag
Year: 2002
Issue: 1
Volume: 32
Page: 7 - 13

Kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) is a summer growing tropical pasture species well adapted to the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. Kikuyu foggage (standing hay) could play an important role in a fodder flow programme to sustain dry ewes during late winter after their lambs have been weaned in mid-winter. The potential of kikuyu foggage to supply in the feed requirements of dry ewes was evaluated over four winter periods. The foggage was obtained by closing off the kikuyu to grazing during either late January or late February. The foggage was grazed for eight weeks, from mid-July to mid-September, using either strip or continuous grazing systems. Closing off date did not significantly influence the chemical composition of the material on offer. The ewes in the different treatments lost between 4.7 and 10.3% of their initial body weight over the grazing period. In vitro digestible organic matter (IVDOM) of the foggage declined as winter progressed and was positively correlated with the body weight losses of the ewes. Foggage utilization varied between 36.7 and 43.5%, indicating a high proportion of fodder wastage. The body weight loss of the dry ewes during the grazing period suggested that kikuyu foggage in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands was unable to sustain the body weight of the dry ewe.

Keywords: continuous grazing, Foggage, Kikuyu, sheep, standing hay, strip grazing
Read article