Tropical Grasslands (2001) Volume 35, 175–179

The effect of harvesting at different growth stages on yield and quality of three late-maturing pearl millet accessions in northern Nigeria

J.T. AMODU, M.S. KALLAH, O.S. ONIFADE, A.T. OMOKANYE and I.A. ADEYINKA

National Animal Production Research Institute, Ahmadu Bello University, Shika-Zaria, Nigeria

Abstract

A field trial at Shika, northern Nigeria, investigated forage and silage yields of 3 late-maturing varieties of pearl millet harvested at flowering, milk and dough stages of growth. Forage yields were highest when harvested at the milk stage (P < 0.05). Leaf: stem ratios were similar (1:2) at all harvest stages. Crude protein declined from 8.2% at flowering to 5.3% at the dough stage, while crude fibre increased from 32.7% to 35.4% (P < 0.05). Nitrogen-free extract (47–48%) did not change with maturity. Accession Bunkure was taller and its forage yields (56.3 t/ha) higher (P < 0.05) than Kankara (54.3 t/ha) and Mokwa (53.2 t/ha), but its tiller density (26 per culm) was lower than for the other 2 accessions (30 per culm) (P < 0.05).
Harvesting of pearl millet at the milk or dough stage is recommended. Nutrient changes with advancing maturity were small and forage yields increased with age.

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