Forage crops as substrate for animal feed and ethanol production in Thailand
Five forage crops, namely ruzi (Brachiaria ruziziensis), purple guinea (Panicum maximum), atratum (Paspalum atratum), plicatulum (Paspalum plicatulum), and rhodes grass (Chloris gayana), were experimented for their possibility of ethanol and animal feed utilization. All tested forage crops were harvested 45 and 75 days after being planted. The results indicate the effect of harvesting time on their composition, including the contents of cellulose, lignin, and crude protein, thus affecting the ethanol yield and quality of animal feed. Ruzi grass, harvested 45 days after being planted, was shown to be the most suitable substrate for animal feed due to its highest crude protein content (12.49%), whereas purple guinea and atratum grasses provided highest expected yield of ethanol (2,688.40 and 2,613.20 L/ha/year, respectively).
Key words: Ethanol, animal feed, forage crops.