The overall objective of this work was to investigate variation in grain yield (GY), stover yield (SY), fodder quality of stover and their association in sorghum and pearl millet. These relationships were investigated in India in 12 genotypes of sorghum and six genotypes of pearl millet grown under high fertilizer (HF) and low fertilizer (LF) application. Fodder quality of stover was assessed by digestibility and intake measurements in bulls. In sorghum, highly significant genotype-dependent variation was found for GY, SY and fodder value of stover regardless of level of fertilizer application. GY and fodder quality of stover were not inversely related and the genotype with the highest GY, for example, had also the best fodder quality in the stover. High GY and high fodder quality in sorghum stover seem to be compatible traits. In pearl millet, genotypic variation in GY and SY and quality was expressed under HF but not under LF application. No consistent significant genotypic differences were found for fodder quality measurements in pearl millet except for cell wall digestibility. Digestible organic matter intake (DOMI) when bulls were fed to appetite was considered the crucial determinant of stover quality in sorghum and pearl millet. Live weight changes in bulls estimated by DOMI varied genotype-dependently from -140 to +100 g per day in 300 kg bulls. However, this paper argues that genotypes promoting high DOMI are only suitable for farmers with sufficient amounts of stover to allow the feeding of animals to appetite. Farmers with restricted amounts of stover are better served by genotypes that promote high digestibility under restricted feed intake.
Blummel, M.; Zerbini, E.; Reddy, B.V.S.; Hash, C.T.; Bidinger, F.; Khan, A.A. Improving the production and utilization of sorghum and pearl millet as livestock feed: progress towards dual-purpose genotypes. Field Crops Research (2003) 84 (1-2) 143-158. [DOI: 10.1016/S0378-4290(03)00146-1]