Japanese millet : studies on its yield, chemical composition and nutritive value : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Agricultural Science in Animal Science at Massey University

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Under pastoral conditions, such as in New Zealand, there are 2 periods of the year when feed demands by livestock are frequently greater than that normally produced by pastures, i.e. during the summer - early autumn and winter. The roughage problem for summer feeding is just as important as for winter, but it is more commonly neglected. Most cows invariably decrease in production during the dry season and this can be attributed to a number of factors. Cows are approaching the end of their lactation periods and can be expected to drop in milk flow, but the chief cause for the drop in production is the feed shortage which accompanies dried pastures. During the last three summer seasons (1969 - 1970 - 1971) in the Manawatu area, serious limitations to efficient milk production were due principally to the lack of summer pasture. In these drought seasons, most of the typical species of permanent pasture became semidormant and thus under these conditions, farmers were forced either to feed hay, silage and/or concentrates or to use a regular system of growing supplementary pasture crops in order to provide additional grazing during the season of short permanent pasture. Summer annual grasses like Millet and sudangrass are very useful as supplementary feed crops because their period of maximum growth occurs during the mid-summer months when many perennial pasture species are in production slumps. [From Introduction]