Agronomic Performance and Feeding Value of Mulato II and Mombasa Grasses in Dairy Cattle


Mulato II (Brachiaria hybrid) and Mombasa (Panicum maximum Jacq. cv. Mombasa) were compared with Signal (Brachiaria decumbens) and Slender Guinea (Panicum maximum var. trichoglume), respectively in pure stand or when mixed with either Arachis (Arachis pintoi) or Centrosema (Centrosema molle) in terms of the herbage yield, nutrient composition, in vitro digestibility and persistence. Rumen degradation experiment was also conducted to estimate nutritive values as correlated with the gas production levels from incubated samples of the Mulato II and Mombasa grasses at different cutting intervals (Study 1). 

The two grasses were fed to growing heifers to evaluate the growth performance i.e. liveweight gain in comparison with Napier (Study 2).  A comparative feeding study was also conducted to compare the dry matter intake, milk yield and composition of Holstein Friesian x Sahiwal (HF x SH) cows fed with Mulato II and Mombasa in comparison with Napier (Study 3).

Laboratory experiments were carried out to evaluate the effects of two additives on the physical and chemical characteristics of the two grasses. Ensiled Mulato II and Mombasa was also fed to HF x SH cows to determine their influence on the DMI, milk yield and milk composition in comparison with those fed Napier silage (Study 4). Cost and return analysis was also conducted on their establishment, maintenance, conservation and utilization (Study 5).

Results showed the comparable performance of Mulato II and Mombasa with the close relative grasses in pure stand and when mixed with forage legumes. Feeding either of Mulato II or Mombasa resulted in similar liveweight gain of growing heifers. Milk yield and composition of cows fed fresh Mulato II and Mombasa were comparable with cows fed Napier grass. Higher DMI was noted in cows fed Mulato II silage (11 kg/day) and Mombasa silage (10.1 kg/day) compared with Napier (8.9 kg/day). Mulato II- and Mombasa- silage- fed cows produced an average daily milk of 8.93 kg and 8.83 kg respectively compared with 7.18 kg for cows fed Napier silage during the 60-day period.

Cost analysis showed that a kg of dry matter costs Php 1.84, Php 1.50 and Php 1.35 respectively for Mulato II, Mombasa and Napier. When ensiled, a kg of DM costs Php 15.45, Php 14.82 and 16.11, respectively for Mulato II, Mombasa and Napier.  Silage DM from Mombasa grass was cheaper than Mulato II and Napier because of the higher DM content (24%) of the former.


October 1, 2016 to April 30, 2019. Source of Fund: PCAARRD- DOST