Milk Production From Napier Grass(Pennisetum purpureum) in coastal Lowland Kenya

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Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
A series of six experiments were carried out at the Regional Research Centre Mtwapa to evaluate the effect of Napier grass fed alone or together with locally available supplements on dry matter intake, milk yield and live weight changes. Cows offered supplements (copra cake, fish meal, Leucaena or maize bran) consumed more total DM than cows fed Napier grass alone. Napier grass harvested at 1.0 m height was found to be more digestible and gave higher lactation peiformance than when harvested at . 1.5 m height. Milk production increased and body weight losses were reduced on supplementation. There were no significant peiformance differences between cows fed the conventional supplement (a mixture of copra cake and maize bran) and Leucaena forage. Crossbred cows fed ad libitum Napier grass supplemented with 8 kg Leucaena forage (2 kg DM) could meet their maintenance requirement plus 10 kg milk yield daily. Higher milk production was achieved by supplementing the forage diet with maize bran, an energy source that is cheap and readily available in the regLOn.