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South African Journal of Animal Science

On-line version ISSN 2221-4062
Print version ISSN 0375-1589


OUDA, J.O. et al. The nutritive value of forage sorghum genotypes developed for the dry tropical highlands of Kenya as feed source for ruminants. S. Afr. j. anim. sci. [online]. 2005, vol.35, n.1, pp.55-60. ISSN 2221-4062.

In vitro studies were conducted on five sorghum genotypes developed for the dry tropical highland climate of Kenya and which can be fed to ruminants fresh or as silage. The five sorghum genotypes consisted of two normal white mid-rib (WMR) genotypes, coded E1291 and E6518l, and three brown-midrib (BMR) genotypes, coded Lan-5, Lan-6 and Lan-12. Whole mature plants (herbage plus grain) and silage made from E1291 were used in the study. An in vitro manual gas production technique was used to compare the nutritive characteristics of these genotypes for ruminants. These sorghums differed significantly in true organic matter degraded (OMDeg), which ranged from 520 to 678 g/kg after 24 h incubation and 706 to 805 g/kg after 72 h incubation. All the BMR sorghums had a higher degradability than the WMR genotype, E6518, and the silage, with Lan-5 having the highest degradability. Methane produced per g OMDeg ranged from 40.6 to 46.4 mL/g after 24 h incubation and from 53.1 to 62.6 mL/g after 72 h incubation. It was similar for all genotypes after 24 h incubation but Lan-12 had the highest methane production after 72 h incubation. After 24 h and 72 h incubation all the genotypes produced a similar total amount of gas per OMDeg (293 to 309 and 357 to 385 mL/g, respectively) with similar total short chain fatty acid concentrations in the liquid digesta (7.8 to 10.4 and 9.5 to 10.3 mmol, respectively) and acetate to propionate ratios of 2.16 to 2.49 and 2.35 to 2.87, respectively. The sorghums showed great potential as ruminant feed sources in the region.

Keywords : Sorghums; nutritive characteristics; in vitro gas production.

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