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An experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of graded levels of sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) as an additive to Guinea grass (Panicum maximum) silage. A previously established guinea grass plot, totaling an area of 625m2 was cut back and fertilized with urea at the rate of 200 kgN/ha. The pasture was then harvested at 6-weeks regrowth, chopped (5-10cm long), mixed with chopped sugar cane (1-3cm long) and ensiled in stack silos. Four treatments were formulated as follows: Treatment A = 10%w/w Sugar cane with Panicum maximum; Treatment B = 20%w/w sugar cane with Panicum maximum; Treatment C = 30%w/w sugar cane with Panicum maximum; Treatment D = Panicum maximum without additive; with the fresh Panicum maximum serving as Control. The yield values of 6,169 and 4,850 Kg DM/ha was observed for the fresh and ensiled P. maximum, respectively. The pH values of the ensiled forage were significantly (P< 0.05) highest in Treatment D (5.72) and least in Treatment C (4.20), while Treatments A and B were similar. Results showed significant (P<0.05) reduction in the pH value of the ensiled grass as the content of sugar cane increased. Total cell wall (NDF) contents were similar and significantly reduced in ensiled guinea grass. Crude protein (CP) level was highest (P<0.05) in 30% sugarcane additive silage (Treatment C) but similar in Treatments A, B, D and Control. The Crude fibre (CF) content was highest (P<0.05) in the 10% sugarcane additive silage and lowest (P<0.05) in the fresh un-ensiled guinea grass forage. Nitrogen Detergent Fibre (NDF) of the Control was higher (P<0.05) than the ensiled grass across the treatments, while Acid Detergent Fibre (ADF) values of the ensiled grass increased significantly (P<0.05) with increasing sugarcane inclusion with highest (P<0.05) value recorded for the 30% sugarcane additive silage (Treatment C). It can, therefore, be concluded from this study that sugarcane can serve as an additive in ensiling guinea grass up to the rate of 30% w/w.
Key words: additive, ensiling, sugarcane, forage , Guinea