The study was conducted to evaluate and identify the appropriate harvesting stage of growth and quality of antelopegrass (Echinochloa pyramidalis) hay under natural pasture. DM%, fresh biomass yield (FBY), dry matter yield (DMY) and gross energy (GE) were determined. The main analysis such as ash, crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), acid detergent lignin (ADL), ether extract (EE) and nitrogen (N) contents were analyzed. The result showed that FBY, DMY and total nitrogen were affected significantly (p<0.05) by maturity stage of the grass. In contrast, GE of antelope grass hay was not significantly (>0.05) affected by maturity stage of pasture. FBY and total N were decreased with increased maturity stage, while DMY was increased with pasture age. The highest CP% was obtained at booting stage, while the lowest CP was obtained from the dough stage of growth which is significantly (p<0.05) decreased as forage mature. The means for DMY of antelope grass hay under natural pasture was 21.12 t DM/ha. The average crude protein content of antelope grass for this study was 12.56%. Generally, harvesting stages were significantly affected dry matter and CP content.
Key words: Echinochloa pyramidalis, hay, pasture, yield, nutritive value, antelope grass, harvesting stage, Nuer Zone.
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