Nutritional composition of a full diallel-crossed forage pearl millet of Nigeria origin
The productivity of local cattle depends mainly on the quality of forage they consume, the search of which induces conflicts between herdsmen and farmers. The objective of this study was to evaluate the nutritional quality of ‘maiwa’ Pennisetum glaucum, for forage, in Ibadan, Nigeria. Three inbred lines, namely, 25-2, 28-1 and 94-2 were each sown in three rows in 2009. The inbred lines were crossed in all combinations including reciprocals, to generate six hybrids and three inbred lines. The hybrids and their inbred lines were then evaluated. ‘Maiwa’ plants were harvested by cutting at 30 cm above the ground level, at six weeks after sowing. The plants were allowed to regrow for 7 to 8 weeks to reach booting stage, and samples were collected for proximate analysis. The inbred lines had generally higher dry matter DM content (36.02%) than the hybrids (33.39%). Also, leaf had higher DM (29.67 to 41.11%) than the stem (17.59-24.75%), which was above 20% benchmark. Crude protein (CP) level ranged from 8.76 to 10.66%, which was above the 7% critical level, below which intake declines. Ca: P ratio ranged from 1: 0.89 to 1: 1.58 in 94-2 × 25-2 and 28-1 × 94-2 respectively in ‘maiwa’. The Ca: P ratios reflect the higher content of P in all the lines, except 94-2 × 25-2 hybrid. This shows that the nutritional quality of ‘maiwa’ as forage is satisfactory for animal dietary requirement, except for lactating animal where supplementary CP might be provided.
Key Words: Crude protein, hybrids, proximate analysis