Tropical Grasslands (1995) Volume 29, 34–39

Production by sheep grazing six Cenchrus ciliaris accessions

D.J. MINSON and J.B. HACKER

Division of Tropical Crops and Pastures, CSIRO, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia

Abstract

The potential for improved production by sheep from buffel grass accessions selected for high in vitro dry matter digestibility was investigated. Liveweight gain and wool production of sheep grazing 6 accessions of buffel grass were determined in 2 growing seasons using 2 contrasting management systems. The 6 accessions included the commercial cultivars American and Biloela, and 4 accessions which, in a previous study, had higher digestibility values than the commercial cultivars when grown in rows (averaged over samplings of young leaf and whole plant samples).
When the 6 accessions were grown in grazed swards, American had the highest leaf digestibility and Biloela, the lowest. The other accessions had intermediate leaf digestibility values. There were no significant differences (P > 0.05) between accessions in liveweight gain, wool production or fibre diameter.
Although not conclusive, results suggest liveweight gain was related to digestibility, but selecting buffel grasses grown in rows for higher digestibility, using the sampling techniques employed, would not necessarily identify the highest quality genotypes in terms of animal production.

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