|dc.description.abstract||The purpose of the study is to determine how the nutrient composition changes with age in the two Napier grass varieties (Bana grass and Sudan hairless) under natural condition without fertilizer application.The nutrients under study through proximate analysis included; Ash, Moisture, Ether extract, Crude protein, Crude fibre and nitrogen free extract.This study therefore aims at providing relevant information to the farmer on the appropriate harvesting dates after establishment when the nutrients are at the optimum level.
The study was conducted at the University of Nairobi College of Agriculture and Veterinary sciences (Kabete Soils).
The grasses were first established then cut at 20cm above the ground and harvesting done at an interval of three weeks for a period of 12 weeks.
The samples were weighed at harvesting, dried and ground for laboratory analysis.
The study results revealed that moisture content decreases with age i.e. Hairy Napier contained 8.0394% moisture at 3 weeks, 5.940% moisture at 6 weeks, 5.76% moisture at 9 weeks and 4.948% at 12 weeks.The studies showed that Ash decreases with age i.e. Hairy Napier showing 17.25% at 3 weeks, 10.56% at 6 weeks and 10.415% at 9 weeks.The studies also revealed that crude protein decreases with age i.e. Hairy type Napier grass contained 5.79% crude protein at 3 weeks and 2.17% crude protein. While Hairless contained 4.552% at 3 weeks and 3.12% at 12 weeks.
Based on the results above with consideration to crude protein, Napier grass should be harvested at a period between 5-7 weeks when the protein content is at the optimum level and this helps in the cost reduction as the protein is the most expensive nutrient required by the animals.-||en_US