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This work was conducted to compare the potentiality between BLRI Napier-3 (BN-3) and Pakchong (PK) fodders. In a completely randomized design (CRD) layout, 10 plots (5 m  5 m each) were prepared and stem cuttings were transplanted. Fodder plants were harvested at 70, 80 and 90 days after plantation (DAP) followed by making silage. Ten Red Chittagong Cattle (RCC) growing bull calves were selected and equally divided into two treatment groups fed only silages for nutrient utilization and growth evaluation. The highest biomass yield (69.3 ton/ha) and plant height (104.6 cm) were observed in PK at 90 DAP. The highest leaf weight (498.6 g/plant) and leaf to stem ratio (LSR) (1.53) were observed in BN-3 at 70 DAP, which was decreased gradually in progressing maturity. Conversely, stem weight was increased with progressing maturity. Dry matter (DM) (24.71%), total ash (8.35%) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) (61.89%) in PK silage were significantly higher. On the other hand, crude protein (CP) (9.86%), organic matter (OM) (91.65%) and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) (88.06%) in PK silage did not differ with BN-3 silage. Dry matter intake (DMI) and crude protein intake (CPI) from PK silage (2.25 kg/day/animal and 0.22 kg/day/animal) were significantly higher. Digestibility of DM (55.07%), CP (62.35%), OM (57.85%), total ash (30.89%), ADF (73.02%) and NDF (78.19%) for PK silage were significantly higher. N-intake (35.57 g/d) from PK silage was significantly higher, although, N-retention did not differ significantly. There were no significant differences in weight gain of calves fed PK (117 g/d) and BN-3 (68 g/d). It can be concluded that PK silage is comparatively better than BN-3 in respect to biomass yield, digestibility and nutrient utilization in growing bull calves.
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Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology A 9 (2019) 166-176
doi: 10.17265/2161-6256/2019.03.004
Comparative Study on Biomass Yield, Morphology,
Silage Quality of Hybrid Napier and Pakchong and Their
Utilization in Bull Calves
Nathu Ram Sarker1, 2, Dilruba Yeasmin2, Farah Tabassum2, Md. Ruhul Amin2 and Md. Ahsan Habib2
1. Poultry Production Research Division, Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI), Savar, Dhaka 1341, Bangladesh
2. Fodder Research and Development Project, Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI), Savar, Dhaka 1341, Bangladesh
Abstract: This work was conducted to compare the potentiality between BLRI Napier-3 (BN-3) and Pakchong (PK) fodders. In a
completely randomized design (CRD) layout, 10 plots (5 m 5 m each) were prepared and stem cuttings were transplanted. Fodder
plants were harvested at 70, 80 and 90 days after plantation (DAP) followed by making silage. Ten Red Chittagong Cattle (RCC)
growing bull calves were selected and equally divided into two treatment groups fed only silages for nutrient utilization and growth
evaluation. The highest biomass yield (69.3 ton/ha) and plant height (104.6 cm) were observed in PK at 90 DAP. The highest leaf weight
(498.6 g/plant) and leaf to stem ratio (LSR) (1.53) were observed in BN-3 at 70 DAP, which was decreased gradually in progressing
maturity. Conversely, stem weight was increased with progressing maturity. Dry matter (DM) (24.71%), total ash (8.35%) and acid
detergent fiber (ADF) (61.89%) in PK silage were significantly higher. On the other hand, crude protein (CP) (9.86%), organic matter
(OM) (91.65%) and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) (88.06%) in PK silage did not differ with BN-3 silage. Dry matter intake (DMI) and
crude protein intake (CPI) from PK silage (2.25 kg/day/animal and 0.22 kg/day/animal) were significantly higher. Digestibility of DM
(55.07%), CP (62.35%), OM (57.85%), total ash (30.89%), ADF (73.02%) and NDF (78.19%) for PK silage were significantly higher.
N-intake (35.57 g/d) from PK silage was significantly higher, although, N-retention did not differ significantly. There were no significant
differences in weight gain of calves fed PK (117 g/d) and BN-3 (68 g/d). It can be concluded that PK silage is comparatively better than
BN-3 in respect to biomass yield, digestibility and nutrient utilization in growing bull calves.
Key words: PK silage, BN-3 silage, biomass yield, nutrient utilization.
1. Introduction
Livestock production is mainly constrained by lack
of continuity in the supply of good quality feed, either
grazing or conserved forage in developing countries
like Bangladesh. Napier grass (Pennisetum
purpureum) is one of the most popular grasses in the
tropics and sub-tropics and has been the most
promising and high yielding fodder with good
adaptability that suppresses most tropical grasses.
According to Woodard and Prine [1], Napier grass is
usually harvested at short intervals to feed at an early
growth stage, because the nutritive value of the grass
depends on harvesting intervals. In general, although
Corresponding author: Md. Ahsan Habib, Ph.D., research
fields: animal breeding, fodder and forage production.
it is harvested at proper intervals, this grass only can
support low levels of animal production. This is
attributed due to its high levels of neutral detergent
fiber (NDF) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) and low
levels of crude protein (CP) and digestibility [2]. Roy
et al. [3] stated that farmers usually harvest this grass
when plant grows 5-6 ft high (1.5-1.8 m) to achieve
high yield from their small pieces of land in order to
feed their huge number of livestock. Quality of this
grass is often compromised to achieve high biomass
yield which led to low quality of this grass. However,
with the increasing demand of feeds for livestock,
Napier along does not meet the requirements for the
huge cattle population in Bangladesh. Alternative
fodders with more vigorous growth and nutritious
need to be introduced at this moment to meet up
D
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Comparative Study on Biomass Yield, Morphology, Silage Quality of Hybrid Napier and
Pakchong and Their Utilization in Bull Calves
167
excessive requirements of roughages for livestock.
Recently, a high yielding grass has been introduced
from Thailand named Pakchong (PK) which is
another variety of Napier grass and mostly adapted to
the tropical climate prevailing in Bangladesh.
However, it is also necessary to preserve the green
grasses to some extent as silage making for lean
season (winter), as well as for those areas where
water logging prevails for most periods of the year.
The rainy season brings an abundant production of
Napier grass and at that time, cow gives milk well
when fed them sufficiently. The plenty of production
in the rainy season gives opportunity to store grass by
making silage. Storing grass as silage allows the feed
to be kept in top quality for feeding in the dry season
[4]. During the winter period there is no high quality
of feed available in the fields, and in order to feed
high quality conserved supplements (e.g., maize) at
any time of the year to complement grass to improve
milk production or N utilization [5], so, silage making
is a good option for solving the feed scarcity which
hampers badly livestock production. Silage making is
a convenient way to preserve forage crops as well as
to enhance their palatability and nutritive content.
Quality fodders and forages are important for
optimization of production. Increasing biomass yield
is as much as important, nutrient contents in fodder
and forages are also important. Rusdy [2] stated that
supplementation with quality forage leaves is very
beneficial to increase growth performance of cattle
and goats fed low quality elephant grass. This study
was aimed with objectives to compare the quality
assessment of PK and BLRI Napier-3 (BN-3) hybrid
fodders in terms of biomass yields and plant
morphology, palatability, nutrient utilization and
growth performance of bull calves providing silage
made from both fodders.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1 Location and Duration of Experiment
The study was conducted at Pachutia research farm
of Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI),
Savar, Dhaka. The experiment was conducted for a
period of about 12 months including fodder
cultivation, silage preparation & conservation,
digestibility and feeding trial for growth performance
study of growing bull calves, which was started from
July 2016 to June 2017.
2.2 Topography, Soil and Climates
The experimental site is geographically located at
24°420 N latitude and 90°2230 E longitude and at
an altitude of 4 m above the sea level. The soil of the
experimental site is clayed in texture. Soils were
sampled to a depth of 20 cm collected from nine
different points with an amount of about 1 kg from
each point of the experimental field prior to
commencement of the experiment. The samples were
dried at ambient temperature for 5 d and mixed
properly to make it composite sample. From the
composite samples, five replications (each of 100 g)
were sent to central laboratory of Soil Resource
Development Institute (SRDI), Farmgate, Dhaka 1215,
for soil nutrient analysis to adjust doses for fertilizer
application in the experimental field.
The climate of the study area is classified as
tropical. According to meteorological data taken in
Savar Upazila (near the study site), the mean
maximum temperature of 28.9 °C was recorded in
May, which was the hottest month of the year and
the mean lowest temperature of 18.8 °C was
recorded in January, which was the coldest month of
the year. The maximum temperature of 34.4 °C was
recorded in April and the lowest of 12.1 °C in
January.
The total annual rainfall was 1,990 mm and shows a
unimodal distribution pattern, with the main
precipitation from May to September. The
precipitation was the lowest in December, with an
average of 6 mm. Most precipitation falls in July, with
an average of 372 mm. The mean relative humidity
ranged from 54% to 83% [6].
Comparative Study on Biomass Yield, Morphology, Silage Quality of Hybrid Napier and
Pakchong and Their Utilization in Bull Calves
168
2.3 Description of Napier Cultivars
Both cultivars were derived from interspecific
crosses between common elephant grass (P.
purpureum) and pearl millet (P. glaucum). BN-3
was developed by BLRI through accession selection
of Napier hybrid. It is characterized by moderate
height with profuse tillering and better leaf to stem
ratio (LSR). It has very less barbs in leafs and stems
which are not harmful for human skin. The
flowering stage of this grass comes into delay and
can be first harvested to 50-60 days after plantation
(DAP) with 40-45 d subsequent harvests. On the
other hand, PK was introduced from Thailand and
developed by Department of Livestock Development,
Thailand. It was reported that PK grows over 3 m
height in less than 60 d, gives high yields and can be
harvested after 45 d with a CP concentration of
16%-18% [7].
2.4 Land Preparation and Cultivation
For this study, 10 experimental plots (five for PK
and five for BN-3) with each of 25 m2 were prepared
by properly weed slashing, ploughing, laddering and
manuring. Farm yard manure (FYM), urea, triple
super phosphate (TSP) and muriate of potash (MP) at
the rate of 20 tons, 60, 70 and 30 kg per hectare,
respectively, were applied before ploughing. After
land preparation, stem cuttings of both cultivars were
transplanted into the experimental plots with row to
row spacing of 70 cm and plant to plant spacing of 35
cm. After 30 d of plantation first weeding followed by
top dressing with urea at 60 kg/ha along with adequate
irrigation was done. Further irrigation was done as per
the requirement of the soil dryness. Fodder crops were
harvested in three different periods of 70, 80 and 90
DAP.
2.5 Measurement of Biomass Yields and Plant
Morphology
At the stipulated time of harvest plants within 1 m2
area from five places of each plot were cut about 5 cm
above the ground level and weighed for green biomass
yields and converted production to metric ton per
hectare of land. For plant height measurement, the
tallest tillers of randomly selected five clumps in each
plot were taken and measured in inch from above the
ground level to apex of the tiller. Leaves, stems and
sheaths of randomly selected five plants from each of
the plot were separated and weighed individually in
grams. Weights of leaves were divided by weight of
stem to estimate LSR.
2.6 Preparation of Silage
For preparation of silage, two Napier cultivars were
harvested at 120 d after first plantation and chopped
with a chaff cutter into 0.5-1.0 inch pieces. The
chopped particles were poured into silo pits in the
ground. Before filling, 3-4 inches thick layer of paddy
straw was spread inside the pit, to prevent moisture
absorption from the soil. To withdraw air completely
from the vacuum space inside the pit, the chopped
grasses were repeatedly compressed by legs after
filling some amounts, so that there was no vacuum
inside the pits. After proper compaction and filling,
the tops of the pits were covered with polythene sheet
and finally covered with soil and stored up to a period
of six months until start of the feeding trial.
2.7 Selection and Management of Animals and
Feeding Silage
A total of 10 Red Chittagong Cattle (RCC) growing
bull calves aged between 12-15 months having almost
homogenous body weight (ranged from 110 kg to 120
kg) were selected and equally divided into two
treatment groups for feeding silage of two different
fodders. All the experimental animals were stall fed
with zero grazing. No concentrate feeds were supplied
to the animals, except that of silage adlib provided
twice in a day (once at 8:00 am and rest at 4:00 pm)
and consistently supplied up to the end of the
observation periods. Always fresh and clean drinking
water was supplied to the animals during that period.
Comparative Study on Biomass Yield, Morphology, Silage Quality of Hybrid Napier and
Pakchong and Their Utilization in Bull Calves
169
The growth of animals was calculated from final body
weight deducted by initial body weight and the
resultant was divided by duration of feeding periods
and finally expressed as gram per day.
2.8 Trial for Nutrient Digestibility and N-Utilization
At the time of feeding trial, all animals were kept
in individual metabolic crates. During that period,
daily feed supply and leftover were recorded for
estimating actual daily intake of silage by subtracting
the leftover from the amount supplied in a day. In
order to determine nutrient digestibility of silage, a
7-day collection period during the middle of the trial
period was conducted. At that time, the amount of
silage refusal collected every morning was stored for
chemical analysis. The feces were collected manually
from floor scrapping immediately after voiding and
kept in polythene bags to avoid losses of N by
evaporation and to avoid contamination. The feces
voided by each animal along the day were weighed
up to 7 d. Total feces were then mixed properly and
about 5% of the well mixed feces of each animal
were taken for sun dry and 50 g was kept in the
refrigerator for estimation of dry matter (DM) and N.
At the end of collection period, the sun dried feces
collected for 7 d were composited and grinded to
pass through 20 mm screen sieve for proximate
analysis. Besides, urines voided by each animal
along the day were collected individually by
connecting the plastic pipe into the collection bottles
previously set in the metabolic crates. After
measuring the volume, 10% urine was taken out
and mixed with other urine sample during collection
period. The urine sample at 10% was taken out for
proximate analysis. Remain urine at the same
collecting place was then stored in the refrigerator
for N estimation. The proximate analysis was
conducted at Animal Nutrition Laboratory, BLRI.
The calculations of DM and N-utilization were as
follows:
DM intake of silage = (feeding amount % DM) –
(remain amount % DM) (1)
N-intake from silage = amount of DM intake % N
in silage (2)
N-retention in feces = amount of feces % DM %
N (3)
N-retention in urine = amount of urine % N (4)
N-balance = total N intake – (N-retention in feces +
N-retention in urine) (5)
2.9 Chemical Analysis
The supplied feed samples, leftover and faeces were
analyzed by the method of Association of Official
Analytical Chemist (AOAC) [8] for determination of
DM, CP, organic matter (OM) and ash. On the other
hand, ADF and NDF were determined by Van Soest et
al. [9]. All the samples were analyzed in duplicate and
mean values were recorded.
2.10 Experimental Design and Analysis
A 2 3 factorial experiment (two cultivars: BN-3
and PK 3 harvest periods: 70, 80 and 90 d) was laid
out having three replications for each treatment
combination. For the study of silage quality, each
treatment (cultivar) had five replications (animals) in a
completely randomized design (CRD). All the data
generated from different areas of study were analyzed
by IBM SPSS 20.0 statistical program. Duncan’s
multiple range test (DMRT) was also done to compare
the treatment means for different parameters.
3. Results
3.1 Biomass Yields and Plant Morphology
The effects of cultivar and stage of maturity (cutting
interval) on green fodder yield and plant morphology
are presented in Table 1. The cultivar had a significant
effect on biomass yield, plant height, leaf yield, sheath
yield, stem yield and LSR. The highest biomass yield
and plant height were obtained from PK. On the other
hand, BN-3 performed better than PK in terms of leaf
yield and LSR. The highest stems were yielded from
PK.
Comparative Study on Biomass Yield, Morphology, Silage Quality of Hybrid Napier and
Pakchong and Their Utilization in Bull Calves
170
Table 1 Comparative performances of BLRI Napier-3 (BN-3) and Pakchong (PK) fodder at different stage of maturity
(SM).
SM
Biomass yield
(MT/ha)
Plant height
(inch)
Leaf weight
(g/plant)
Sheath weight
(g/plant)
Stem weight
(g/plant)
Leaf: Stem
(LSR)
BN-3 PK BN-3 PK BN-3 PK BN-3 PK BN-3 PK BN-3 PK
70 d 50.1
(4.2)
46.6
(10.5)
64.7
(1.9)
90.0
(7.0)
498.6
(21.6)
154.6
(54.5)
131.4
(8.4)
93.3
(21.2)
325.9
(12.6)
231.6
(44.9)
1.53
(0.08)
0.68
(0.2)
80 d 43.5
(4.1)
62.4
(10.5)
76.2
(2.8)
101.3
(7.0)
429.1
(15.3)
146.6
(54.5)
148.0
(5.9)
79.0
(21.2)
350.6
(17.8)
258.0
(44.9)
1.23
(0.05)
0.58
(0.2)
90 d 41.3
(2.9)
69.3
(10.5)
80.5
(2.8)
104.6
(7)
355.3
(21.6)
142.6
(54.5)
171.8
(8.4)
128.3
(21.2)
556.3
(17.8)
276.3
(44.9)
0.65
(0.08)
0.53
(0.2)
Overall mean 44.9 59.5 73.9 98.7 427.8 148.0 150.5 100.2 411.0 255.3 1.17 0.63
SEM 2.2 6.1 1.5 4.1 11.4 31.5 4.4 12.3 9.4 25.9 0.04 0.12
Sig. (cultivar) * *** *** *** *** ***
Sig. (SM) NS NS NS NS *** *
Cultivar SM NS * NS NS ** **
Values in the parenthesis are standard errors; *** significant at 0.1% level (p < 0.001); ** significant at 1% level (p < 0.01); *
significant at 5% level (p < 0.05); NS = not significant (p > 0.05).
The stage of maturity had no significant effect on
most of the morphological parameters, except those of
stem weight and LSR. The stem yields increased
significantly for both cultivars with increasing stage of
maturity. Conversely, LSR decreased for both
cultivars with progressing stage of maturity. There
were significant cultivar stage of maturity effects on
plant height, stem weight and LSR.
The nutrient composition of silage made from PK
and BN-3 is depicted in Table 2 which shows that
there are significant differences for some nutrients
between two silages. PK silage has significantly
higher DM, ash and ADF contents than that of BN-3
silage.
3.2 Intake, Digestibility and N Utilization of Silage
Intakes of silage by the animals of two groups are
shown in Table 3. The results reveal that fresh silage
intake by the animals of two Napier cultivars did not
vary significantly (p > 0.05).
Table 4 shows the nutrient digestibility of silage
prepared from two Napier cultivars. The digestibility
of PK silage was significantly higher than the
digestibility of BN-3 silage for all nutrients contained
in the silage.
Table 5 shows that N intake was proven to have
significantly difference between feeding groups,
approximately at 35.59 g/day/animal for PK silage
and 29.36 g/day/animal for BN-3 silage.
The amount of fecal N as shown in Table 5 (13.39
g/day/animal from PK silage and 13.86 g/day/animal
from BN-3 silage) was proven to have no significant
difference between feeding groups.
Table 5 shows the amount of N excreted through
urine which differed significantly between feeding
groups. Higher N was excreted from PK silage (16.02
g/day/animal) as compared to BN-3 silage (10.78
g/day/animal).
The N-retention (6.16 g/day/head from PK silage
and 4.72 g/day/head from BN-3 silage) as shown in
Table 5 did not differ significantly between feeding
groups.
3.3 Feeding Effect of Silage on Growth of Bull Calves
Table 6 illustrates the feeding effect of silage made
from PK and BN-3 silage on growth performance of
bull calves. It is shown in Table 6 that initial body
weights between two feeding groups have no
significant variations, indicating that there was no bias
of randomization between groups. Up to a 32 d
feeding period, the final body weights of animals
between groups were not varied significantly.
Consequently, a total of 3.88 kg live body weight gain
obtained by PK silage and a total of 2.26 kg live weight
Comparative Study on Biomass Yield, Morphology, Silage Quality of Hybrid Napier and
Pakchong and Their Utilization in Bull Calves
171
Table 2 Nutritive values of PK and BN-3 silage.
Nutrients PK silage
(mean ± SE)
BN-3 silage
(mean ± SE) Level of significance
Dry matter (DM) (%) 24.71 ± 0.07 20.11 ± 0.15 **
Crude protein (CP) (%) 09.86 ± 0.20 09.14 ± 0.13 NS
Organic matter (OM) (%) 91.65 ± 0.52 93.11 ± 0.12 NS
Total ash (%) 08.35 ± 0.23 06.89 ± 0.09 *
Neutral detergent fiber (NDF) (%) 88.06 ± 0.58 86.45 ± 0.39 NS
Acid detergent fiber (ADF) (%) 61.89 ± 0.52 56.09 ± 0.31 **
SE = standard error; NS = not significant (p > 0.05); * significant at 5% level (p < 0.05); ** significant at 1% level (p < 0.01).
Table 3 Intake of silage prepared from two Napier cultivars.
Parameters PK silage
(mean ± SE)
BN-3 silage
(mean ± SE) Level of significance
Fresh silage intake (kg/day/animal) 9.12 ± 0.01 9.95 ± 0.48 NS
DM intake (kg/day/animal) 2.25 ± 0.004 2.00 ± 0.9 *
CP intake (kg/day/animal) 0.22 ± 0.003 0.18 ± 0.008 **
%DM intake on live weight 1.90 ± 0.15 1.68 ± 0.12 NS
NS = not significant (p > 0.05); ** significant at 0.1% level (p < 0.001); * significant at 5% level (p < 0.05).
Table 4 Nutrient digestibility in growing bull calves fed silage of two Napier cultivars.
Digestibility (%) PK silage
(mean ± SE)
BN-3 silage
(mean ± SE) Level of significance
DM 55.07 ± 1.15 45.63 ± 1.69 **
CP 62.35 ± 1.02 52.66 ± 1.23 ***
OM 57.85 ± 1.24 46.58 ± 1.87 ***
Ash 30.89 ± 2.02 20.57 ± 2.45 *
ADF 73.02 ± 1.05 65.09 ± 0.90 ***
NDF 78.19 ± 0.746 71.42 ± 1.47 **
SE = standard error; *** significant at 0.1% level (p < 0.001); ** significant at 1% level (p < 0.01); * significant at 5% level (p <
0.05).
Table 5 N-intake and utilization in growing bull calves from PK and BN-3 silage.
Parameters PK silage
(mean ± SE)
BN-3 silage
(mean ± SE) Level of significance
N-intake (g/day/animal) 35.57 ± 0.07 29.36 ± 1.41 **
Fecal N (g/day/animal) 13.39 ± 0.36 13.86 ± 0.53 NS
Urinary N (g/day/animal) 16.02 ± 0.50 10.78 ± 0.35 ***
N-balance (g/day/animal) 06.16 ± 0.42 04.72 ± 0.68 NS
SE = standard error; NS = not significant at 5% level (p > 0.05); *** highly significant at 0.1% level (p < 0.001); ** highly
significant at 1% level (p < 0.01).
Table 6 Growth performance of bull calves feeding with sole PK and BN-3 silage.
Growth parameters PK silage
(mean ± SE, n = 5)
BN-3 silage
(mean ± SE, n = 5) Level of significance
Initial LWT (kg) 117.52 ± 11.01 118.24 ± 6.34 NS
Final LWT (kg) 121.40 ± 9.83 121.50 ± 6.42 NS
Total LWT gain (kg) 3.88 ± 1.20 2.26 ± 0.62 NS
ADG (kg/d) 0.117 ± 0.04 0.068 ± 0.02 NS
LWT = live body weight; ADG = average daily gain; SE = standard error; n = number of animal; NS = not significant at 5% level (p >
0.05).
Comparative Study on Biomass Yield, Morphology, Silage Quality of Hybrid Napier and
Pakchong and Their Utilization in Bull Calves
172
gain obtained by BN-3 silage did not vary
significantly.
Daily body weight gain (0.117 kg/d) obtained by
PK silage was though higher than their counterpart of
BN-3 silage (0.068 kg/d), but the difference is not
statistically significant.
4. Discussion
4.1 Biomass Yields and Plant Morphology
The effect of cultivar on green fodder yield and
other plant morphological characters as obtained in
this study conforms to the earlier studies [10-12].
Biomass production of hybrid Napier is characterized
by variety or cultivar specific and is associated with
some plant morphological factors like plant height,
number of tillers, leafiness, stem circumference, etc.
The highest plant height and stem weight could be the
reason for significantly higher biomass production of
PK compared to BN-3. However, plant height is
controlled genetically that can be modified mostly by
selection with little extent to environmental factors.
Assuero and Tognetti [13] stated that the control of
tillering in grasses is the contribution of genetic and
physiological factors and their interaction with
environmental factors. Significant variation of LSR
between cultivars could be due to variable
characteristics of stem and leaves of the cultivars.
Some varieties may be characterized by thin stem and
numerous numbers of leaves, however, other may
differ. Better LSR as obtained from BN-3 was due to
higher leaf weight of BN-3 as compared to PK. The
supremacy of BN-3 in terms of LSR makes it highly
palatable for animals. The increasing harvest interval
results in the increased weight of stem. This could be
due to maturity of the plants; as plant grows, the stems
become stronger and thicker. The LSR declined
sharply as the harvest period increased. This is in
agreement with the studies of earlier investigators
Wangchuk et al. [10], Tessema et al. [14] and Smart
et al. [15]. According to Butt et al. [16], decrease in
LSR with longer cutting intervals is a function of the
longer periods of physiological growth with reduced
defoliation frequency stimulating stem growth at the
expense of leaf production.
This could be due to lower LSR in PK as shown in
Table 1. Higher DM is associated with higher fibrous
materials contained in stem. Bureenok et al. [17] in
their study on Napier silage preserved with different
additives had shown DM in silage to be 28.9% when
preserved with no additive, 28.0% preserved with
molasses and 26.5% preserved with fermented juice of
epiphytic lactic acid bacteria. Their DM values of
silages are comparatively higher than the present
study, which could be due to difference of maturity of
plant and type of silo or duration of preservation.
Ishrath [18] reported CP and ash contents to be ranged
from 8.09% to 11.59% and 6.67% to 10.56%,
respectively, in silage prepared from Napier grass
harvested at 45, 60 and 75 d, which are in agreement
with this study. On the contrary, Bureenok et al. [17]
obtained lower values of CP (4.1% to 4.9%) in silages
preserved with different additives.
Aganga et al. [19] studied ash contents in Napier
hybrid silage added with sole molasses 5% and
molasses 5% with urea 1%, and they reported ash
contents to be 7.1% to 12.27% depending on different
cutting heights with increasing height resulting in
higher values of ash. Khandaker and Uddin [20]
reported 7.55% to 12.0% total ash contents in maize
silage preserved at four different silos. The ash
contents in silages as obtained in this study fall within
the range of their study. Khaleduzzaman [21] and
Broderick et al. [22] clarified that the lower ash
content could be the possible reasons for releasing
greater amount of energy and increasing nutrient
digestibility during fermentation. Ash content in silage
gives the information of OM as well as mineral
content. However, the highest ash contents sometimes
might cause kidney problems to the cattle [23].
According to the study of Ranjhan [23], ash content in
feed should be below 10%. Bureenok et al. [17] in
Comparative Study on Biomass Yield, Morphology, Silage Quality of Hybrid Napier and
Pakchong and Their Utilization in Bull Calves
173
their study had shown 39.2%-48.8% ADF and
62.3%-72.6% NDF in silages preserved with different
additives which are lower than this study. The
variations could be due to differences of cultivar or
methods and storing duration of silage.
4.2 Intake, Digestibility and N Utilization of Silage
In general agreement, Khaleduzzaman [21] stated
that there were no significant differences of intakes
among silages of different categories even though in
Napier silage due to low pH and high NH3-N of silage
compared to that of fresh grass. Although fresh silage
intakes of two Napier cultivars did not differ
significantly, DM intake of PK silage was
significantly higher than DM intake of BN-3 silage.
This could be attributed due to higher DM contents in
PK silage as compared to BN-3 silage (Table 2). This
result agrees well with the earlier studies of
Khaleduzzaman [21], Sawar and Hasan [24], Sawar et
al. [25] and Yahaya et al. [26] who reported that the
moisture content and pH of silage negatively affect
intake. Khaleduzzaman et al. [27] reported DM intake
of Napier silage to be 1.93 kg/d which closely agrees
with this study. Earlier, Khandaker and Uddin [20]
studied quality of maize silage preserved in four
different silos and reported DM intake to be highest of
2.71 kg/d and lowest of 2.22 kg/d which are also in
agreement with this study. As a result of higher DM
intake from the PK silage, CP intake from the same
silage was significantly higher than CP intake from
BN-3 silage. This result conforms to the earlier studies
of Khaleduzzaman [21] and Sawar et al. [28] who
reported that nutrient intake followed a similar trend
as observed in DM intake. The total voluntary DM
intakes (% on live weight, LW) were 1.90% and
1.68%, respectively, for PK and BN-3 silages with no
significant difference between cultivars. Basically, the
amount of DM an animal will eat will depend on its
body weight, quality of the feed and type of animal.
However, it is important to calculate the average daily
intake to ensure feeding the correct amount by body
weight or that the animal is able to obtain enough
nutrients from a certain feed determined by intake
limits. It was investigated that cattle and sheep
generally consume between 2%-3% of their live
weight in DM daily. Bureenok et al. [17] reported
2.12%-2.41% of total voluntary intakes from silage
added with different additives which included same
amount of concentrate feeds and 0.77%-1.06%
excluded concentrate feeds. Less voluntary DM intake
(% on live weight, LW) as compared to their study
might be attributed due to the fact that no concentrate
feeds were provided to the animals in this study.
The digestibility of silages of two Napier cultivars
falls within the range of Yokota et al. [29] who
reported in vitro digestibility ranged from 49.4% to
69.2% for DM and 48.6% to 71.9% for OM. Randa et
al. [30] obtained 42.23% DM digestibility of Napier
silage which closely agrees with 45.63% for BN-3 in
this study. But they obtained 79.47% OM digestibility
which is higher than this study. Khaleduzzaman et al.
[27] reported DM, CP and OM digestibility of Napier
silage to be 55.22%, 55.47% and 58.37% which are in
accordance with this study. Bureenok et al. [17] in
their study reported DM, CP and OM digestibility of
Napier silage to be 75.64%, 76.95% and 77.43%,
respectively, without mixing any additive and 81.54%,
81.09% and 83.22%, respectively, when adding
molasses. Their findings do not conform to this study.
The underlying reason is not clear but it might be
speculated that harvest age and structural components
of plant cell like cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin
may vary among different fodder crops. Yokota et al.
[29] reported that lignin is a chemical component in
forage cell walls, increases with the development of the
grass and is most associated with reduced digestibility
of fiber. Bureenok et al. [17] reported ADF and NDF
digestibility of Napier silage ranged from 65.22% to
76.33% and 66.60% to 76.75%, respectively
depending on different additives added to the silages,
which conforms to this study. Khaleduzzaman et al.
[27] obtained ADF and NDF digestibility of Napier
Comparative Study on Biomass Yield, Morphology, Silage Quality of Hybrid Napier and
Pakchong and Their Utilization in Bull Calves
174
silage to be 52.43% and 54.63%, respectively, which
are lower than this study. The NDF digestibility of
this study is accorded with Randa et al. [30] who got
74.23% in Napier silage, while they obtained 38.34%
ADF digestibility which is lower than this study. The
higher digestibility of DM, CP, OM, ash, ADF and
NDF in PK silage compared to its counterpart
indicates the supremacy of PK fodder in terms of
nutrient utilization.
Sunarso [31] studied the effect of king grass silage
on N-balance in goat and obtained no significant
differences of N-intake among different combinations
of diets. In principle, N-intake depends on DM intake
and N contents of the ration. Higher DM and CP
intakes from PK silage as compared to BN-3 silage
investigated by this study have proved to be higher
N-intake from PK silage. Principally, the amount of N
consumed by ruminants is used by rumen microbes
for synthesis process and to support growth of
associated microbes, and rest of the amount will pass
from degradation process in reticula-rumen and then
moved to digestion organ behind the rumen. The
quality and quantity amount of distributed N is equal
to available N which will be absorbed and utilized.
Increasing amount of quantity and quality of available
N will increase positive impact on livestock
performance.
In general agreement, Sunarso [31] reported the
same effect for different rations in goat. The amount
of N in feces is the portion of total amount of N intake
which cannot be absorbed in digestion process and
passes away through feces. Increasing passing out N,
results in lower absorption or utilization of N. Thus,
less N compensation through feces is expected as to
more utilization of N for increasing production
support to animals.
This could be due to the reason that total N-intake
from PK was significantly higher than that of BN-3
silage. Sunarso [31] reported to have no significant
differences of fecal N excretion among different
rations, which is not in the line of this study. Variation
between findings could be attributed due to
differences of diet or species. Principally, urinary N is
the amount of un-utilized N of available N absorbed
through digestive tract and mix with few amount of N
endogenous from the body itself. Increased urinary N
leads to increase of un-utilized N-absorbed. The
higher the N excreted through urine, the lower the
utilization of N, which results in the declination of
performance of animals.
This result conforms to Sunarso [31]. Indeed, the
more N-retention, the more utilization of N resulting
good performance of livestock. For livestock ruminant,
available N is ±60% which included contribution of
rumen microbe protein, 30%-40% of feeding-N and
1%-2% obtained from N-endogenous. Rumen microbe
includes CP at ±70% which consists of complete
essential amino acid and has high biological value
[32]. N-balance with no statistical difference between
silages of two Napier cultivars implies that nutritional
values of both fodders are alike.
4.3 Feeding Effect of Silage on Growth of Bull Calves
Recently, Nazli et al. [33] studied body weight gain
of beef cattle after feeding corn silage, rice straw and
combination of both and obtained no significant
changes of final live weight which corresponds to this
study, although they obtained significant differences
for average daily weight gain. Bahri et al. [34] also
reported significant changes of daily average weight
gain of Bali cattle in Indonesia fed different
combinations of corn straw and peanut straw silage.
However, they also provided constant amount of
concentrate feeds to animals of different treatment
groups. That could be one of the reasons why the
result of this study contradicts with their findings.
Total DM and CP intakes from PK silage were
significantly higher than those intakes from BN-3
silage. Nevertheless, quality of PK silage regarding
palatability, nutrient intake and digestibility was
superior. As a result, live weight gain was supposed to
be higher in animals fed PK silage. The fundamental
Comparative Study on Biomass Yield, Morphology, Silage Quality of Hybrid Napier and
Pakchong and Their Utilization in Bull Calves
175
reason is not clear. However, it may be speculated that
N utilizations from both silages were not significantly
different which leads to similar weight gains of both
groups. According to FAO [35], beef meat contains
25% DM. DM in meat has around 16% N. However,
Jones factor of 6.25 is used to determine total protein
from total N contents in meat and fish. Based on the
value, it can be accounted that 1 g N retention is equal
to 6.25 g {(100/16.0) × 1 g} DM of meat. Due to the
amount of DM content in meat being 25%, it can be
calculated that fresh meat obtained from 1 g N
retention is 25.0 g {(100/25) × 6.25 g }. The results
indicate that N retentions were accounted to 6.16
g/day/animal and 4.72 g/day/animal, respectively, for
feeding PK and BN-3 silages. Based on the above
equation, the animals should have gained 154.0 g
(6.16 × 25.0 g) per day and 118.0 g (4.72 × 25.0 g) per
day, respectively. As per these estimates, weight gains
from both silages were not sufficient. Therefore,
further investigation should be conducted.
5. Conclusions
This study reveals that PK fodder is comparatively
better than that of BN-3 fodder in respect to biomass
yields, intake, digestibility and nutrient utilization in
growing bull calves. However, it does not prove to be
superior for growth performance of growing animals.
Acknowledgments
The authors are so much grateful to Fodder
Research and Development Project of Bangladesh
Livestock Research Institute for giving fund to
conduct this research.
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... It has very few barbs in leaves and stems with better LSR. Although the flowering stage of this grass comes into a delay but can be first harvested 50-60 days after plantation with 40-45 days subsequent harvests (Sarker et al., 2019).On the other hand, Pakchong-1 was developed by the Department of Livestock Development, Thailand, which is reported to grow over 3 m tall in less than two months, gives high yields, and can be harvested after 45 days with a CP concentration of 16−18% (Kiyothong, 2014). ...
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