Biomass yield of maize fodder at different plant density, its preference and digestibility by Sokoto Gudali heifers
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of plant density on biomass yield of maize fodder, its acceptability and digestibility by Sokoto Gudali heifers. Treatments P1, P2, P3 and P4 correspond to different plant densities of 53,333, 106,666, 210,526 and 421,072 plants/ha, respectively. Each treatment was replicated three times on 4m x 10m plots and fertilizer was applied as100 kg N/ha. Fodder was harvested at 6weeks of age (42 days after planting) and weighed to determine the biomass yield. Samples were also taken for chemical analysis. Harvested fodder were fed to Sokoto Gudali heifers to determine its preference and digestibility. Biomass yield increased significantly (P<0.05) within plant population with P4 (3.55 tons/ha) having the highest yield and P1 (1.61 tons/ha) having the least. Dry matter (DM, 23.64 – 27.22%) and crude protein (CP, 19.75 – 27.50%) of fodder increased as plant population increased while fibre components (ADF, NDF AND ADL) decreased. In this study, an increase in plant density produced more forage yield of very good quality with high dry Matter digestibility and no variation (P>0.05) in the preference by the animal.
Keywords: Plant Density, Maize Fodder, Preference, Digestibility, Sokoto Gudali Heifers.