Frontiers of Agriculture and Food Technology

Frontiers of Agriculture and Food Technology ISSN 7295-2849 Vol. 3 (1), pp. 259-264, January, 2015. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

A study of forage yield and nutritive value of natural pastures at varying levels of maturity in North West Lowlands of Ethiopia

 *Isaias Nega Gudina, Seyoum M. Tsegaye and Berhanu M. N

Department of Animal Science Research, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

*Corresponding author. E-mail: nega_gudina@yahoo.com.

Accepted 9 December, 2015

Abstract

A study was conducted to describe forage yield and nutritive value of natural pasture at varying harvesting time from Metekel area. An area of 2,414 m2 natural pasture was enclosed in three districts at the beginning of the main rainy season in two consecutive years and harvesting was made at 10 days interval starting from late July to November. The average yield of the natural pasture in the study area was 5.40 ton DM/ha. The dry matter yield was significantly (P<0.05) increased in advancing flowering while crude protein and in vitro organic matter digestibility was decreased, as expected. Unlike acid detergent fiber which increased significantly (p<0.05) with maturity, the neutral detergent fiber and hemicellulose level of the pasture was not significantly different (p>0.05) between harvestings. Despite poor balance of grass and legume combinations which contributed for lower protein content and digestibility, the natural pasture of Metekel zone has a high productivity in relation to total DM yield. It could be concluded that appropriate harvesting time for quality hay making is at 40 to 80% of flowering and after 17±2 weeks of precipitation.

Key words: Metekel lowlands, ruminant, grazing land, biomass yield, chemical composition, Benishangul-gumuz.