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Agronomic characteristics, silage quality, intake and digestibility of five new Brazilian sorghum cultivars

  • A. L. A. NEVES (a1), R. D. SANTOS (a2), L. G. R. PEREIRA (a1), G. F. OLIVEIRA (a3), C. B. SCHERER (a4), R. S. VERNEQUE (a1) and T. McALLISTER (a5)...


Forage sorghum (FS) (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is a key feed source for ruminants owing to its high yield and drought tolerance. The present paper assessed the agronomic characteristics, silage quality, intake and digestibility of five new Brazilian sorghum cultivars (BRS Ponta Negra variety, BRS 655 hybrid, BR 601 hybrid, BRS 506 variety and BRS 610 hybrid). Forages were grown (randomized complete block design) in a typical Brazilian north-eastern semi-arid climate, irrigated with 267 mm water, harvested as plants reached the soft dough stage of grain maturity and ensiled under laboratory and farm conditions. Apparent digestibility of the silages was determined using 25 Santa Inês lambs. BRS 506 outperformed the other cultivars in dry matter (DM) and digestible DM yields/ha. BRS 506 exhibited the lowest neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and acid detergent fibre (ADF) contents and the highest in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) of the cultivars examined. BRS 655 produced the lowest level of lactic acid and the highest pH and ammonia-N concentration. There was no difference in intake or digestibility of DM among cultivars. Silages produced from BRS Ponta Negra resulted in higher crude protein (CP) intake than BRS 655. Silages made from BRS 506 and BRS Ponta Negra resulted in a greater digestibility of CP than those produced from BRS 655. Intake of NDF in silages generated from BRS Ponta Negra and BRS 610 was higher than that found in other cultivars. Although an average Brazilian North-eastern FS exhibited similar characteristics to other cultivars grown in dry regions around the world, the results indicated that BRS 506 had a yield advantage and higher nutritive value under Brazilian semi-arid conditions as compared to the other cultivars examined.


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