Quality of ensiled Guinea grass (Panicum maximum) at varying proportions with sweet potato peels for ruminant production in Niger Delta, Nigeria
Quality of ensiled Panicum maximum with different proportion of sweet potato peels for ruminant production was studied. Panicum maximum (PAM) were harvested at 4-week regrowth, chopped to 2-3 cm, wilted and ensiled with sweet potato peel (SPP) at different proportions (%) to have seven experimental treatments: T1 (100 PAM/ 0 SPP); T2 (90 PAM/10 SPP); T3 (80 PAM/ 20 SPP); T4 (70PAM/ 30 SPP); T5 (60 PAM/ 40 SPP; T6 (50 PAM/ 50 SPP); T7 (40 PAM/ 60 SPP). Bamma bottles (960mL) were used as laboratory silos. Each treatment had three replicates in completely randomize design. The ensiled materials were kept for 270 days. Physical characteristics, chemical composition and fiber fractions were examined. The colour observed were yellowish-green to olive-green, while the aroma was mild sweet in all the treatments except T3 and T6 with 20% and 5% mouldiness, respectively.Firm texture was recorded for all the treatments, while the pH values ranged from 2.9 – 3.7.There was a significant (P<0.05) difference in DM, CP, CF, ash, NFE, NDF, ADF and NFC except ether extract. There was no significant (P>0.05) different in the Ca, P, Na and Mg content of the silage. The value of Fe and Zn was significantly different (P<0.05) and ranged from 165.7 – 169.2 mg/kg and 22.30 – 23.70 mg/kg, respectively. There was a significant difference (P<0.05) in the 24hrs gas production, methane production (CH4), short chain fatty acid (SCFA), organic matter digestibility and metabolizable energy (ME), while similar (P>0.05) value was recorded for dry matter digestibility(DMD) and fermentation efficiency (FE) across the experimental treatments. The qualities recorded for the experimental treatments at the end of 270 days ensiled period, showed that the silage of Panicum maximumwith different proportions of sweet potato peel especially T4 (70 PAM/30 SPP) could sustain ruminant production especially during the dry season.