EFFECT OF DIFFERENT PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS ON THE PERFORMANCE OF YANKASA SHEEP FED CONGO GRASS (Brachiaria ruziziensisR.C.M)

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Department of Agricultural Science

ABSTRACT
There were two trials carried out in this research, the first trial was conducted to investigate the growth pattern, dry matter yield and biomass production of Congo grass (Brachiaria ruziziensis R.C.M). The trial lasted for 24 weeks, during which plant height, number of leaves/plant, number of tillers/plant, leaf-stem ratio, percentage soil cover, percentage greenness, dry matter yield and biomass production were measured. The plant height of B. ruziziensis increased from 20cm at week 4 to 135cm at week 24. Seven (7) tillers per plant was obtained at week 4, which increased to twelve (12) at week 24. The percentage greenness also increased from 40% at week 4 to 95% at week 24. The results showed that there were significant (P<0.05) differences in plant height, number of leaves per plant and number of tillers/plant between weeks 4, 6, 8, 12, 18 and 24. The leaf-stem ratio which was highest at week 6 (1.5:1) and lowest at week 18 and 24 (1.2:1) did not differ significantly (P>0.05) between the various weeks. The results obtained also indicated that the dry matter and fresh fodder yield production increased (P<0.05) from 5.7t ha-1 to 11.6t ha-1 and 8 to 32t ha-1, respectively from week 6 to week 24. The second study was done to compare the performance of Yankasa sheep fed Brachiaria ruziziensis basal diet with different protein supplements of Cotton Seed Cake (CSC), Palm Kernel Cake (PKC), Brewer’s Dried Grain (BDG) and sole B. ruziziensis grass (control). Sixteen (16) Yankasa sheep weighing between 18.5 and 21.5kg and aged 9-12 months were used in the experiment. The total dry matter and crude protein intake were highest (P<0.05) in animals on CSC supplement and lowest for those on BDG supplement. Digestibility of dry matter (DM) ranged from 61.3% in BDG to 66.8 % in CSC (P<0.05). Digestibility of crude protein was also highest in CSC (71.9%) and lowest in BDG (67.06%). The total live weight gain (TLWG) increased (P<0.05) from 0.91kg in animals vi fed B. ruziziensis grass solely (control) to 2.5kg in those fed Cotton Seed Cake, while feed conversion ratio reduced from 52.50 in B. ruziziensis to 29.15 in CSC treatment. It is concluded from this experiment that Yankasa sheep utilized CSC better than PKC, BDG and Brachiaria ruziziensis (control). It is therefore recommended that Congo Signal grass (Brachiaria ruziziensis R.C.M) be harvested from week 24 for higher dry matter yield and biomass production. Also, Brachiaria ruziziensis should be supplemented with Cotton Seed Cake at a rate of 250g/d for better live weight and economic gain in Yankasa sheep production.


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