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Giant King® Grass as Animal Feed

Giant King Grass when cut every 40-60 days is excellent animal feed. It has high-protein and high palatability. It can be the entire diet or a part of a mixed ration for dairy cows, cattle, sheep, goats, camels and other animals and even pigs and some fish. The high-yield of Giant King Grass makes it a low-cost, but high quality animal feed. In a mixed ration, Giant King Grass provides fiber, energy and protein and can reduce the amount of high cost of materials needed in the ration to provide optimal nutrition.

Giant King Grass can be fed as freshly cut grass, green chop, silage, or hay. Giant King Grass can also be dried ground and pressed into feed pellets. Grazing is also possible, but cut and carry is most practical. Younger Giant King Grass has very high-protein and is very palatable, but young grass has higher moisture content and dry matter yields per acre are lower. 60 day old Giant King Grass has the highest annual dry matter yield and still very good nutrition. The older grass has thicker stems and is less palatable and must be chopped before feeding to animals. 60 days is a good time for making silage. 40-45 days is usually a good time to harvest for making hay.

Fresh Cut Giant King Grass

Freshly cut Giant King Grass is excellent animal feed. It can simply be cut and fed to the animals, or taller grass with larger stalks can be chopped to make it more palatable. Animals eagerly eat fresh Giant King Grass. Fresh Giant King Grass and other grasses spoil after about three days, so just in time harvesting is desirable.

Young Giant King Grass can be fed directly to animals without chopping.

Giant King Grass Hay

In order to store Giant King Grass for longer periods of time, it is necessary to either dry it to make hay or to cover it with an airtight seal to make silage. To make hay, Giant King Grass is cut and laid in the field for several days to dry in the sun to less 15% moisture. Then the dry grass is made into round or square bales which can be stored indefinitely and can be transported or exported. Small-scale mechanical harvesting of Giant King Grass using a tractor pulled swather can be seen in this video. Small-scale baling is shown in this video.

40-45 day old Giant King Grass can be harvested, field dried and baled into hay.

Giant King Grass Silage

The other option to store Giant King Grass for extended time is to make silage. Forage which has been harvested while still green and nutritious can be conserved through a natural “pickling” process. Lactic acid is produced when the sugars in the forage plants are fermented by bacteria in a sealed container (“silo”) with no air. Forage conserved this way is known as “ensiled forage” or “silage” and will keep for up to three years without deteriorating. Silage is very palatable to livestock and can be fed at any time. Silage is made either by placing cut green vegetation in a silo or pit, by piling it in a large heap and compressing it down so as to leave as little oxygen as possible and then covering it with a plastic sheet, or by placing the chopped forage into an airtight silage bag. Silage is also used to store grass and other forage for use in anaerobic digesters. Large-scale mechanical harvesting of Giant King Grass with a forage harvester is shown in this video. The grass shown in the video is tall grass suitable for bioenergy, but the same forage harvester can be used for animal feed– fresh chop or silage.

60 day old Giant King Grass has highest yield with good nutrition, and can be chopped for fresh green chop or made into silage.

Silage pile at left and silage bag at right stores fresh and nutritious Giant King Grass for up to three years

In a tropical country, Giant King Grass can be grown and harvested all year long. Fresh Giant King Grass is an option though year round. In temperate climates, there is a winter and forage must be stored to be available in the winter. Both hay and silage are good storage options. If the feed is to be transported, hay is the best option because it is dry. Silage is wet and heavy to transport. Silage is often fed to dairy cows and hay to cattle. Making hay requires warm and sunny weather; silage can be made when it is cold and cloudy.

Nutrition Analysis

Giant King Grass has been grown in many locations and it has been tested many times by several different laboratories. One of the top forage laboratories in the US is Dairy One in Ithaca New York. An example Dairy One analysis of fresh Giant King Grass for animal feed is shown below. This sample has 84.9% moisture or 15.1% dry matter, and the crude protein is 14.5% of dry matter. Younger samples will have higher moisture and higher protein, but lower dry mass yield per acre. Older samples will have lower moisture and also lower protein, but higher dry mass yield per acre. One can choose when to harvest the Giant King Grass in order to get the desired animal feed properties.

Manual Harvesting with Machetes

Mechanical Harvesting with Forage Harvester

Chipping Dry Giant King Grass

Machine Cutting of Giant King Grass for Animal Feed

Small Bales of Giant King Grass

Sugarcane Press to Dry Giant King Grass

Feeding Biomass into Boiler