Tropical Grasslands (2005) Volume 39, 117–123

The nutritive value of laboratory ensiled lablab (Lablab purpureus) and pearl millet (Pennisetum americanum)


1National Animal Production Research Institute, Ahmadu Bello University
2Department of Animal Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Samaru — Zaria, Nigeria


A laboratory study was conducted with fieldgrown pearl millet (Pennisetum americanum) and lablab (Lablab purpureus) to examine the effects of addition of lablab in varying amounts on the quality of millet silage. Combinations compared were: 0:100, 15:85, 30:70 and 50:50 mixtures of lablab and millet, respectively. All silage treatments contained similar concentrations of dry matter, organic matter and ether extract. Incorporation of lablab led to a small increase in crude protein, crude fibre and nitrogen–free extract. All silages showed low crude protein concentrations and would barely supply N requirements for maintenance of cattle. The lactic acid content of the silage increased as the proportion of lablab in the mixture increased. The silage pH values, which ranged from 4.1–4.5, showed that all lablab — millet mixtures were adequately fermented with favourable aroma and colour. The Ca and P concentrations increased with higher incorporation of lablab, while the converse was the case with Mg, Na, K and S. Mineral supplements, in particular S and Na, would need to be fed if these silages constituted a high proportion of the diet of cattle, especially lactating cows. Field studies are required to determine if these results can be duplicated on a practical scale, while feeding studies with ruminants will determine the acceptability of the silages and animal performance.

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