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Agronomía Costarricense

Print version ISSN 0377-9424


VILLALOBOS, Luis  and  ARCE, Jose. Agronomic and nutritional evaluation of african star grass-based pastures (Cynodon nlemfuensis) in the region of Monteverde, Puntarenas, Costa Rica. II. nutritional value. Agron. Costarricense [online]. 2014, vol.38, n.1, pp.133-145. ISSN 0377-9424.

The nutritional value of african star grass (Cynodon nlemfuensis)-based pastures was analyzed in 4 commercial dairy farms in the Monteverde region (latitude 10°20’, longitude84°50’, 800 to 1200 masl), every other month during a 2-year period. Sampling was carried out in the paddock ready to be grazed and samples were hand-plucked leaving a 10 cm stubbleheight, simulating the consumption made bylactating cows. Average nutritional value forthe 2 years was 23.57% DM, 20.27% CP, 2.67% EE, 10.97% ashes, 64.21% NDF, 34.95% ADF, 4.06% lignin and 68.02% IVDMD on a dry matter basis. Estimated energy content for the variables of TDN, DE, ME, NEL (3X), and NEGwas 61.37%, 2.71, 2.05, 1.25 and 0.78 DM, respectively. Nutritional value of african star grass varied along the year, as it is sensitive to weather conditions. The farms with influence from the Pacific slope are less affected in forage quality than those with Atlantic influence. CP content was higher in this study than in previous evaluations for this species elsewhere and, in general, for tropical grasses as well. Protein is not a limiting factor for dairy cattle grazing african star grass, and its supply must use sources that allow an efficient utilization of soluble N by rumen microorganisms. The 25-day rotation systems in Monteverde must be flexible to allow, jointly with fertilization programs, the optimization of the productivity and persistence of the pastures.

Keywords : Nutritional value; grazing management; tropical grasses; Cynodon nlemfuensis.

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