The DM digestibility of German grass ranged from 59 to 63%, with a protein content varying from 8.2 to 10.3% and NDF from 66.4 to 61.8% of DM. Corresponding intakes for sheep increased from 64.3 to 71.2 g/kg0.75 as digestibility decreased (Combellas et al., 1973).
German grass (Echinochloa polystachya) is more palatable to stock than para grass (Hannan-Jones et al., 2008).
Beef cattle and buffaloes
In Venezuela, with Criollo Limonero steers grazing Echinochloa polystachya pastures, supplementation with 1 kg concentrate or Leucaena leucocephala did not modify dressing percentage, carcass traits, cut yield, cooking traits and Warner-Bratzler shear force (Rodas-Gonzalez et al., 2007; Rodas-Gonzalez et al., 2006). Animals supplemented with leucaena had a lesser proportion of white viscera compared to those fed the control diet. All animals exhibited low levels of total lipids and cholesterol, which indicated that this meat could be sold as light meat or low fat meat, which is interesting from a nutritional point of view for the consumer: steaks had a good consumer acceptability and were considered tender meats (Rodas-Gonzalez et al., 2007; Uzcategui-Bracho et al., 2008). Buffaloes had higher live-weight gains than cattle when fed on flooded pastures containing Echinochloa polystachya (Camarao et al., 2004; Sheikh et al., 2002). Buffaloes are better adapted to live in floodplain habitats and their rumen microflora has lower N requirements than microflora of cattle, which excrete more N through the urine (Moran, 1983). Gains differ around the year: they are higher during the dry period (up to 678 g/head/day in August) than at the end of the wet period (333 g/head/day in June) (Camarao et al., 2004).
In the Brazilian Amazon, buffaloes are not used intensively for commercial milk production even though some farmers have obtained high yields (Camarao et al., 2004). The nutritive value of a mixture of Echinochloa polystachia and Brachiaria arrecta can be improved by the allowance of multi-nutritional blocks offered ad libitum to female buffaloes (Lopez-Maduro et al., 2001).