Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/27/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Development of pearl millet (PM) grain hybrids, adapted to production in the SE U.S. has occurred during a time of expanded goat production in the region. An important grain crop worldwide; until recently, PM has received attention in the U.S. as a forage crop. Previous research had established that PM grain could be successfully substituted for corn as a component of diets for lactating goats. Its use with growing animals was less successfu Research was conducted to establish more precisely the energy and protein value PM grain using mature grain goats. In the 1st experiment 2 yr old wether goats were carefully adapted to 100% grain diets over a 4 mo period. A complete collection feeding period was the used to compare PM grain, corn and a half & half mixture. In a 2nd experiment mature bucks were fed rations in which 40% of the ration was millet, corn or the mixture. Remaining diet ingredients were adjusted to balance protein and digestible energy content. When fed grain-only diets, dry matter consumption was similar but digestibility and energy intake of PM was lowest. Digestibility of complete diets also declined as PM replaced corn, but intake was increased with the 100% PM. Nitrogen retention was rn. Response of goats to PM may be limited by lower energy value compared to corn.
Technical Abstract: Two studies were conducted to assess the protein and energy value of pearl millet (PM) grain for mature goats. In the 1st study, 15 2-yr-old male castrated goats were gradually introduced over a 4-mo period to 3 all grain diets consisting of 100% corn, 50:50 corn-PM and 100% PM. After the adjustment to all-grain feeds, the goats were fed the 3 diets in matabolism mcrates for 2-d adjustment and 7-d total collection periods. For the 2nd study, complete diets containing the 3 grain treatments (corn, 50:50 corn: PM, PM) as 40% of the total dry matter (DM) were balanced to contain 16% crude protein (CP) and 2.24 Mcal digestible energy (DE) kg-1 on an air-dry basis. Twelve mature (4-6 yr old) bucks were randomly assigned to diets and fed in pens for 14 d and then moved to metabolism crates for 10-d adjustment and 10-d total collection periods. In the grain-only experiment, DM intake was unaffected by dietary treatment, but digestibility of DM and organic matter (OM) was lowest in goats fed 100% PM. Digestibility of complete diets also increased on the 100% millet diet. In both experiments, substituting PM for corn had no effect on nitrogen (N) retained by the goats. Metabolizable energy (ME) was higher in corn than PM diets when grain was fed as the sole diet or as 40% of the ration DM. Use of PM grain in the diet of goats appears to be limited.