Previous experiments (Muinga et al. 1992 a, b) have demonstrated that giving protein supplements such as copra cake or the legume Leucaena to cows fed Napier grass ad libitum did not depress Napier grass intake and increased milk production. However little additional response in milk production was obtained when 2 rather than 1 kg Leucaena dry matter (DM) was fed as a supplement. The experiment described here aimed to establish the effects of feeding an energy supplement, maize bran in addition to Leucaena on Napier grass intake and milk production and to measure the effects of the diets on rumen digestion.
Cross-bred cattle (Ayrshire x Sahiwal) were fed Napier grass ad libitum as the sole feed (N) or with the following feeds, 1 kg DM Leucaena (LL), 2 kg DM Leucaena (LH) or 2 kg DM Leucaena and 1 kg DM maize bran (LM). The composition of the feedingstuffs is given in Table 1. Feeds were offered twice daily at 06.00 and 18.00h to the cattle housed in roofed, open-sided stalls. Napier grass was chopped to 20mm lengths and Leucaena was offered after removal of stems thicker than 5mm.