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Nigeria grass (Pennisetum pedicellatum)

Datasheet

Description
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Common names 

Nigeria grass, deenanath grass, dinanath grass, annual kyasuwa grass, kyasuwa grass, hairy fountain grass, kayasuwa grass, desho grass [English]; falso-capim-custódio [Portuguese]

Related feed(s) 
Description 

Nigeria grass (Pennisetum pedicellatum Trin.) is a many-branched leafy annual grass up to 1 m high. The culms are erect and branching, and the leaves are 15-25 cm long and 4-10 mm wide, flat and glabrous. The inflorescence is a pink to purple, dense flowered, cylindrical panicle. The spikelets are 4 mm long, usually solitary (Wipff, 2010; Ecocrop, 2010; FAO, 2010).

It is used as fodder. In India, it is considered to be a very palatable species to cattle, but its palatability has been reported as average in the Sahel (FAO, 2010). It provides high yields of green herbage ranging from 30 to 109 t/ha (Ecocrop, 2010), comparing favourably with Sorghum bicolor or other Pennisetum species (Schmelzer, 1996). It responds well to fertilizer and can be combined with fodder legumes, either in mixtures or in rotation cropping (Skerman et al., 1990). In short rotation with maize or groundnuts it yields better than traditional forage grasses, especially with adequate fertilizer, while the roots and stubbles also contribute to soil fertility (Schmelzer, 1996; Chatterjee et al., 1974). To obtain the highest yield, Nigeria grass should be cut 4 months after sowing at 8 cm from ground level (Göhl, 1982). Nigeria grass is used in temporary pastures or in cut-and-carry systems since it provides huge quantities of good quality green forage and can stand several cuts per year. Nigeria grass is also useful for hay and silage (Ecocrop, 2010; Bartha, 1970).

Distribution 

Nigeria grass is native to West Africa and was first introduced to India from where it has spread to South East Asia and Northern Australia (Schmelzer, 1996).

It is now widespread within 20°N and 20°S. It is mainly found on disturbed land, road edges and recent fallows, in areas where annual rainfall ranges from 600 mm to 1500 mm with a rainy season of 4-6 months and where average day-temperatures are about 30-35°C. It thrives on a wide range of soils (including degraded sandy or ferruginous soils) provided they are well drained (CIRAD, 2010). It is susceptible to waterlogging and frost but has some drought tolerance (CIRAD, 2010; Ecocrop, 2010; FAO, 2010).

Environmental impact 

Soil remediation and stabilization

In India, Pennisetum pedicellatum is used as a soil stabilizer (Ecocrop, 2010). A combination of Stylosanthes humilis and Nigeria grass in a ratio of 1:2 provides a cover crop and promotes soil formation on coal spoil heaps (Maiti, 1997). It was also assessed in strip cropping in the Sahelian zone in Africa but did not prove to be valuable (Roose, 1994).

Weed

It is considered a noxious weed in several countries or states (West Africa, USA, Australia) (CIRAD, 2010; FAO, 2010; USDA, 2010). In Australia, it is a weed of sorghum grain crops. In tropical Africa and Asia, it invades well fertilized sorghum and pearl millet crops (Schmelzer, 1996). In North Cameroon, it is found in late seeded crops. It is difficult to control, to bury, and contact herbicides have no or very little effect since leaves can regrow from untouched nodes in the soil (CIRAD, 2010; USDA, 2010). In pasture, heavy grazing is a way of controlling Nigeria grass since it prevents seeds setting (Groves, 1991).

Nutritional aspects
Ruminants 

Nigeria grass is a low quality forage. Nutritive value, crude protein content (9.6% DM at early stage and 1.6% at straw stage), digestibility and voluntary intake decrease with maturity (Kaboré-Zoungrana et al., 2008; Bougouma-Yaméogo, 1995). Because of this fast decrease in quality, Nigeria grass should be fed when young. Mature Nigeria grass must be well supplemented in order to sustain growth and/or milk production. Urea treatment may be a valuable option to improve its nutritive value (nitrogen content and digestibility to some extent), and adequate supplementation must be provided to reach production goals.

Cattle

Nigeria grass fodder results in lower DM intake than sorghum fodder when offered to heifers (Kishore et al., 2000).

Sheep

The nutritive value of late stage Nigeria grass hay is low and cannot support the maintenance requirements of adult rams of 17-25 kg (Nianogo et al., 1997), but supplementation with nitrogen and energy improves performance (Zoundi et al., 2002).

Reported DMI and digestibility values are shown in the table below:

Forage type and maturity stage Animal DM Intake Digestibility References
Fresh, pre-flowering stage Sahabadi rams 43 g DM/kg W0.75 56% DMD Banerjee et al., 1974
Fresh, 65-70 days after sowing Rams 35 g DM/kg W0.75 45% DMD, 48% OMD Jakhmola et al., 1983
Fresh, 120-125 days after sowing (50% flowering) Rams 40 g DM/kg W0.75 56% DMD, 49% OMD Jakhmola et al., 1983
Hay, boot stage Djallonké rams 69 g DM/kg W0.75   Kabre, 1988 cited by Achard, 1991
Hay, tiller stage Djallonké rams 74 g DM/kg W0.75 42% OMD Bougouma-Yaméogo, 1995
Hay, mature stage Djallonké rams 42 g DM/kg W0.75 66% OMD Bougouma-Yaméogo, 1995

Treating Nigeria grass hay with urea may enhance nitrogen content, DM intake, degradability and digestibility in sheep but to a lesser extent than supplementation (Nianogo et al., 1997; Bougouma-Yaméogo, 1995).

Effects of supplementation and/or treatments on Nigeria grass hays on animal performance are shown in the table below:

Animal Supplement Effect on nutritive value Effect on animal performance References
Rams Cottonseed cake (60g) or cotton seed cake + cotton seeds Hay intake increased, OMD unchanged No significant effect on daily weight gain Yilala, 1990
18 month rams 25% or 52% concentrate   Increased daily weight gains: 57 and 71 g/d respectively Bougouma-Yaméogo, 1995
Dairy ewes 20% concentrate + urea   Increased daily milk and protein yields Bougouma-Yaméogo, 1995
Rams Multi-nutrient blocks Increased rumen degradability   Zoundi et al., 2002

Goats

Nigeria grass pasture was found to be palatable to goats, though less so than Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) (Singh et al., 2000).

Rabbits 

Rabbits can be fed on Nigeria grass alone or in combination with a legume, but it is less palatable than grasses such as buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris), pangola (Digitaria eriantha) and signal grass (Brachiaria decumbens) (Iyeghe-Erakpotobor et al., 2008).

Nutritional tables

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 26.3 10.9 15.3 45.0 18
Crude protein % DM 6.5 2.1 2.3 11.4 67
Crude fibre % DM 40.9 3.2 33.0 47.1 67
NDF % DM 75.8 2.4 70.7 79.4 28 *
ADF % DM 47.4 2.8 41.5 51.9 38 *
Lignin % DM 7.0 0.8 5.6 9.2 38 *
Ether extract % DM 1.5 0.4 0.9 2.4 53
Ash % DM 9.5 2.3 6.0 13.7 67
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.1 0.2 18.1 19.1 4 *
 
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Calcium g/kg DM 3.6 1.0 1.8 6.0 65
Phosphorus g/kg DM 2.8 1.0 0.9 4.4 65
Potassium g/kg DM 18.8 7.3 11.6 43.1 49
Sodium g/kg DM 0.8 0.7 0.0 2.1 14
Magnesium g/kg DM 2.9 0.6 1.8 4.1 49
Manganese mg/kg DM 63 43 29 182 14
Zinc mg/kg DM 40 15 14 76 14
Copper mg/kg DM 5 2 2 9 14
 
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 55.8 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 53.4 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 9.6 *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 7.8 *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 47.3 1

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.

References

Bartha, 1970; Blair Ralns, 1963; CIRAD, 1991

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:44:40

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 93.0 3.1 86.6 97.2 11
Crude protein % DM 4.0 2.3 1.7 8.5 11
Crude fibre % DM 44.2 4.0 37.0 49.5 11
NDF % DM 78.8 4.1 72.3 82.2 5 *
ADF % DM 50.9 5.0 42.2 54.7 5 *
Lignin % DM 7.8 1.7 5.8 10.0 5 *
Ether extract % DM 1.1 0.4 0.5 1.8 10
Ash % DM 8.6 1.6 5.9 10.9 11
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.1 *
 
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Calcium g/kg DM 3.0 1.6 1.2 6.0 10
Phosphorus g/kg DM 1.9 1.3 0.4 3.6 10
Potassium g/kg DM 19.7 4.0 15.5 26.3 6
Sodium g/kg DM 0.1 0.0 0.2 2
Magnesium g/kg DM 2.7 1.2 1.3 4.7 6
Manganese mg/kg DM 76 35 38 106 3
Zinc mg/kg DM 47 49 11 102 3
Copper mg/kg DM 5 2 3 7 3
 
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 48.3 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 45.0 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 8.1 *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 6.6 *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 46.0 1

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.

References

CIRAD, 1991; Richard et al., 1989

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:45:33

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 32.9 1
Crude protein % DM 6.7 2.2 5.1 9.3 3
Crude fibre % DM 36.5 6.9 28.6 40.8 3
NDF % DM 71.6 *
ADF % DM 42.5 *
Lignin % DM 5.9 *
Ether extract % DM 1.3 0.8 1.9 2
Ash % DM 15.5 5.4 11.3 21.6 3
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 16.7 *
 
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Calcium g/kg DM 2.8 2.1 3.4 2
Phosphorus g/kg DM 2.1 1.6 2.5 2
Potassium g/kg DM 23.1 21.2 25.0 2
Magnesium g/kg DM 1.9 1.8 2.0 2
 
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 58.6 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 54.4 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 9.1 *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 7.3 *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 47.4 1

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.

References

Blair Ralns, 1963; CIRAD, 1991

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:44:40

References
References 
Datasheet citation 

Heuzé V., Hassoun P., 2015. Nigeria grass (Pennisetum pedicellatum). Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. http://www.feedipedia.org/node/396 Last updated on May 11, 2015, 14:30

English correction by Tim Smith (Animal Science consultant) and Hélène Thiollet (AFZ)