Beef Production on Rotationally Grazed F1 Pennisetum Hybrid and Elephant Grass (Pennisetum Purpureum Schum.) Pastures
Comparative studies of elephant grass and the F1 hybrids between the 'maiwa' cultivar of millet (Pennisetum americanum) and elephant grass (P. purpureum) indicated a superiority in quality of the hybrids. To ascertain this potential superiority animal performance was measured by estimating beef production on F1 Pennisetum hybrid and elephant grass pastures consisting of random mixtures of genotypes which were grazed from July 28 to December 6, 1972 (132 days) by 18 to 24 months old White Fulani (Bunaji) Zebu heifers. Each pasture was divided into six 0.07-ha paddocks which were grazed in intervening rest periods of 30 to 35 days. Total liveweight gains per hectare, of animals grazing F1 Pennisetum hybrid and elephant grass pastures were 246.71 and 171.77 kg respetively. Mean daily liveweight gain per 100 kg body weight of animals on the F1 Pennisetum hybrid pasture was 0.18 kg of animals grazing elephant grass. Dry matter (DM) utilisation and average daily intake of the F1 hybrids and elephant grass were respectively, 46 and 35% and 2.2 and 2.0% of body weight while 11.71 kg and 15.85 kg of F1 Pennisetum hybrids and elephant grass, respectively, were consumed per kg of liveweight gain. The superior performance of animals grazing F1 Pennisetum hybrids was attributed to the higher intake and more efficient conversion of the hybrids. Stand mortality of F1 Pennisetum hybrids and elephant grass at the end of the study were 25 and 15%, respectively. greater animal output can be expected from F1 Pennisetum hybrids selected for improved DM production quality and plant persistence.