Original Articles

Effect of maturity stage and method of preservation on the yield and quality of babala

Published in: African Journal of Range & Forage Science
Volume 14, issue 2, 1997 , pages: 56–61
DOI: 10.1080/10220119.1997.9647921
Author(s): L.D. Snyman, South Africa, H.W. Joubert, South Africa


The effect of maturity stage on the total yield (all harvests throughout the season) of some forage components and on the chemical composition and in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) (first harvest) of babala, was investigated. The effects of various preservation methods on the chemical composition and IVDMD of babala, harvested at different maturity stages (first harvest), were also studied. The yield of forage dry matter (DM) and of the in vitro digestible dry matter (IVDDM) was found to be maximal at the pipe and bloom stages while crude protein (CP) yield was highest at the pipe stage. The chemical composition and IVDMD showed that the quality of fresh babala harvested at the pipe stage (IVDMD = 706 g kg−1 DM; CP = 231 g kg−1 DM) was higher than that of fresh babala harvested at the ripe stage (IVDMD = 594 g kg−1 DM; CP = 120 g kg−1 DM). Preservation by means of hay‐making at the pipe and bloom stages resulted in well preserved forage while haying at the ripe stage resulted in greatly reduced forage quality. Ensiling, which was performed on an in vitro basis, was characterized by an extensive breakdown of protein‐N to NPN which was limited when ensiled with formic acid plus formalin. Ensiling without additives (untreated) accomplished effective fermentation at the bloom and ripe stages but was characterized by a clostridial fermentation at the pipe stage. This was prevented when ensiled with chemical additives (formic acid, formalin, formic acid plus formalin) which caused a corresponding improvement in forage quality. Formalin containing additives, however, increased the ADF‐N fraction. It also tended to induce a clostridial type of fermentation accompanied with some deterioration of energy‐related forage properties when used at the ripe stage. Babala at the bloom stage was successfully ensiled by all methods, with additives restricting the fermentation process.

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