Livestock production in the Caribbean Basin ls largely based on grazing native pastures. However, alternate wet and dry seasons lead to an abundance of feed during the rainy season and acute feed shortages during the dry season. Forage from grass-legume systems that is produced in the rainy season and stored as silage provides an option for overcoming the dry season feed constraint to livestock performance. The yield, quality, disease resistance, and silage pH of forage from monocultures of three sorghum varieties and a mlllet-elephantgrass hybrid were compared with those from alley-cropping systems with native legumes (Leucaena leucocephala and Desmanthus virgatus), Total (grass+ legume) dry forage yield from two harvests was not affected by cropping system in the initial year. The highest yield for sorghum was obtained from Puerto Rico SBR forage sorghum (PRSBR) (6.4 tons per acre (T/A) compared with 5.6 T/A each from Dekalb forage sorghum (FS25A) and Haygrazer sudangrass. About 7 T/A total dry forage of the millet-elephantgrass (M-E) hybrid was produced in monoculture and 5.5 T/A in mixed cultures (P< 0.05). It also provided two additional harvests of 1.5 T/A each during the dry season, Legumes contributed approximately 10% of the total dry forage in1 the mixed-cropping systems. Crude protein (CP) concentration (8.18%) and in vitro organic matter digestibility (IVOHD) (60%) of forage was similar for all grasses and was not affec- ted by cropping system. Despite its shrubby morphology, forage quality of Leucaena (2l. 7% CP and 60% IVOHD) was1 consistently superior (P< 0.01) to that of Desmanthus (14.2% CP and 45% IVOHD), The head/stover ratio was highest for PR5BR (40:60) and least for H-E hybrid (13:87). Dekalb FS25A was the most susceptible, and PR5BR 11nd M-E hybrid the least susceptible, to sorghum rust and target spot. The pH of forage samples ensiled with (3%) and without molasses addition for 90 days were 4.7 and 4,0, respectively (P< 0,05). The preliminary data indicate a potential for selecting from available grasses to provide compatible grass/legume mixtures for silage. The ensilage procedure used can be modified to suit the small-scale farmer.

Issue Date:
Jul 14 1991
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
Record Identifier:
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 Record created 2017-07-11, last modified 2018-01-23

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