Effect of legume foliage supplementary feeding to dairy cattle offered Pennisetum purpureum basal diet on feed intake and manure quality
Bekunda, A. Mateete
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In smallholder zero grazing dairy systems of Uganda, elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) is the main basal diet offered, and is supplemented with legume forages among others. Recent observations indicate reduction in fodder yields of P. purpureum although farmers are applying cattle manure to improve soil fertility and hence increase fodder production. This study evaluated the effect of legume supplementary feeding to dairy cattle offered P. purpureum basal diet on feed intake, and the output and manuring qualityof the resultant faeces. Four diets consisting of P. purpureum fodder fed ad libitum as a control, P. purpureum + Calliandra, P. purpureum + Centrosema and P. purpureum + Desmodium were offered to cows in a 4 x 4 switchover Latin square design. Legume supplementation increased (P<0.05) the total organic and dry matter, metabolisable energy (ME) and nutrient intake, and the apparent dry matter digestibilities (ADMD) as compared with the control. Faecal excretion was increased (P<0.05) by Calliandra and Centrosema. Cows which were supplemented with Calliandra excreted (P<0.05) larger amounts of N, P and K than cows fed either Centrosema or Desmodium. Supplementation with Calliandra proved to be better option since it enhanced feed intake and the output and quality of faeces that could be recycled within the crop-livestock production systems.