Table of Contents
Adeola, O., D. King, and B.V. Lawrence. 1996. Evaluation of pearl millet for
swine and ducks. p. 177-182. In: J. Janick (ed.), Progress in new crops.
ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.
Evaluation of Pearl Millet for Swine and Ducks*
Olayiwola Adeola, Dale King, and Bradley V. Lawrence
- NUTRIENT PROFILE OF MAIZE VERSUS PEARL MILLET
- Digestibility of Nutrients in Pearl Millet for Pigs
- Growth Performance Response of Nursery and Growing Pigs
- Utilization of Nutrients in Pearl Millet for Ducks
- Growth Performance and Carcass Composition of Ducks Fed Diets Containing Pearl Millet
- Table 1
- Table 2
Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) is a cereal grain with good drought
tolerance and hardiness commonly grown in the semiarid regions of Africa and
Asia on an estimated 26 million ha primarily for human consumption (Andrews and
Kumar 1992). In addition to drought tolerance and hardiness, pearl millet has
a relatively short growing season, which makes it a potential crop that can be
double-cropped after wheat has been harvested so that valuable soil is not
allowed to lay idle prior to the following cropping season. Pearl millet could
fill the niche during periods when maize production is affected by unseasonable
weather. The energy density of pearl millet is relatively high, arising from
the higher oil content of this grain relative to maize, wheat, or sorghum (Hill
and Hanna 1990; Sullivan 1990; Haydon and Hobbs 1991). Sullivan (1990) also
reported that pearl millet usually has a superior amino acid profile and a
higher protein content than maize. Research investigating the utility of pearl
millet in livestock diets is limited. In broiler diets, pearl millet could
replace maize without adversely affecting weight gains or feed efficiency
(Singh and Barsaul 1976; Sharma 1979; Smith 1989; Sullivan 1990). Pearl millet
also has the potential for use in diets of swine (Haydon and Hobbs 1991) and
beef cattle (Hill and Hanna 1990). This communication summarizes the results
of a series of studies conducted to evaluate the nutritional value of pearl
millet in diets of pigs (Lawrence 1995) and ducks (Adeola 1994).
Nutrient profiles of maize and pearl millet grain used in studies conducted at
Purdue is presented in Table 1. Pearl millet contains 27 to 32% more protein
than maize, higher concentrations of essential amino acids, two times as much
ether extract, and a higher gross energy value than maize. Pearl millet has
been shown to have a higher protein content and higher essential amino acid,
and ether extract compared with maize (Burton 1972; Ejeta 1987; Smith 1989)
sorghum, wheat, and triticale (Ejeta 1987; Smith 1989; Haydon and Hobbs 1991).
The higher oil content would account for the higher gross energy value of pearl
millet (Table 1).
In nutrient digestibility studies with 20-kg pigs, dry matter digestibility was
higher for maize (87%) compared with pearl millet (77%). Protein digestibility
(70%) and retention (57%) were similar between the maize and pearl millet. The
ileal digestibility of most amino acids from maize seems to be similar to the
values obtained for pearl millet (Haydon and Hobbs 1991), thus supporting the
similar protein retention values for maize and pearl millet. Energy
digestibility was lower for pearl millet (75%) than for maize (86%); and in
conjunction with a lower dry matter digestibility, resulted in lower digestible
and metabolizable energy values for pearl millet (2.92 and 2.84 kcal/g,
respectively) than for maize (3.17 and 3.08 kcal/g, respectively). Haydon and
Hobbs (1991) reported that the energy value of pearl millet was lower than that
of soft red wheat, while Lin (1987) reported that the energy digestibility of
hard red wheat was lower than maize, suggesting, that when fed to pigs, maize
has the highest digestible and metabolizable energy values, with wheat having a
lower value than maize, but a higher value than pearl millet. With increasing
pearl millet inclusion, the gross energy value of the diet would increase while
the supply of digestible energy and metabolizable energy would decline. The
higher protein/amino acid content of pearl millet would indicate that
equal-weight substitutions of pearl millet for maize could result in an
increase in the supply of total amino acids for growth.
Growth performance responses were investigated for 28 days in nursery (10-kg)
and growing (20-kg) pigs fed diets in which pearl millet was substituted for
maize on a weight-for-weight basis. Growth rate of during the first 14 days
and over the entire 28-day period was unaffected by dietary weight-for-weight
replacement of maize with pearl millet in nursery pigs. From day 14 to 28,
however, growth rate and feed intake increased quadratically to increases in
substitution of pearl millet for maize with the maximum rate of weight gain
achieved when 25% of the maize was replaced with pearl millet. The
substitution of pearl millet for maize on a weight-for-weight basis in growing
pigs did not affect growth rate, feed intake, or feed efficiency. Body weights
were similar across dietary treatments at the end of the 28-day experiment.
The value of a higher amino acid composition of pearl millet relative to maize
would be better tested when pearl millet- and maize-based diets are compared on
an equal digestible amino acid basis. Because amino acids and energy are
closely related, lysine, the first-limiting amino acid in cereal-based diets
for pigs is more appropriately expressed in terms of lysine:digestible energy
ratio. Lawrence (1994) determined the optimum ratio to be 3 g of lysine/Mcal
of digestible energy. Based on 80% ileal lysine digestibility, this translates
to 2.4 g of digestible lysine/Mcal of digestible energy. For optimum pig
performance, dietary essential amino acids should be at the proper ratio to
lysine. Based on this premise, another study was conducted to evaluate the
performance of growing pigs fed two different ratios of threonine (65% or 70%
of lysine) and total sulfur amino acids (60% or 65% of lysine) to lysine in
maize-based compared with pearl millet-based diets.
Four diets were formulated to contain 2.4 g of digestible lysine/Mcal of
digestible energy. Diet 1 was maize-based and formulated to contain digestible
valine, isoleucine, tryptophan, total sulfur amino acids, and threonine at the
optimum ratio (68%, 60%, 18%, 60%, and 65%) to digestible lysine developed by
Chung and Baker (1992). Diet 2 was pearl millet-based and formulated to
contain digestible valine, isoleucine, tryptophan, total sulfur amino acids,
and threonine at the optimum ratio (68%, 60%, 18%, 60%, and 65%) to digestible
lysine developed by Chung and Baker (1992). In Diets 1 and 2, the ratios of
the digestible levels of other essential amino acids to digestible lysine
exceeded the optimum ratio in the pattern for pigs (Chung and Baker 1992).
Diets 3 and 4 were maize- and pearl millet-based diets, respectively; and
formulated to contain digestible SAA and threonine at ratios of 65% and 70% of
The average daily gain, feed intake and feed efficiency are given in Table 2.
Increasing the threonine and sulfur amino acid relative to lysine had no effect
on the average daily gain, feed intake, feed efficiency, or days on feed.
However, average daily gains were higher (P < 0.05) in the maize-based diets
(1.07 and 1.08 kg/d vs. 1.01 and 1.02 kg/d) than pearl millet-based diets and
pigs took between 1.5 and 2 days longer to reach the 50 kg live weight with the
pearl millet-based diets. This apparent superiority of maize-based diets over
pearl millet-based diets in supporting weight gains may be due to palatability
of the feeds as pigs on the maize-based diets consume in general more feed per
day. Furthermore, feed efficiency was found to be similar (P>0.05) between
maize-based and pearl millet based diets.
In this study, regardless of whether diets were maize- or pearl millet-based,
pigs within the 20 to 50 kg growth phase performed better on the diets
formulated to contain digestible threonine and sulfur amino acids at 65 and 60%
of digestible lysine than on the diets contain digestible threonine and sulfur
amino acids at 70 and 65% of digestible lysine. In a previous experiment Wang
and Fuller (1990) investigated the effect of the plane of nutrition on the
optimum dietary amino acid pattern for growing pigs. They used six diets based
on maize and soy bean meal. They reported the optimum ratio of four amino
acids for 25-50 kg pigs as lysine 100, threonine 64, methionine + cystine 61
and tryptophan 20. The present study is in agreement with observations
reported by Wang and Fuller (1990). It is our opinion that the lower feed
intake of pearl millet-based diets when compared to maize-based diets accounted
for the lower gains since feed efficiency was similar. Higher intakes of pearl
millet-based diets will have the added advantage of requiring less amino acid
supplementation over maize-based diets.
Nutrient utilization of diets containing pearl millet was investigated with
22-day-old ducks that weighed 1.2 kg. Dry matter in diets containing maize was
less well utilized than that in the diets containing pearl millet. The diets
containing maize had lower energy retention values than those containing pearl
millet. Thus, higher apparent metabolizable energy values were observed for
diets containing pearl millet than those containing maize (3.3 vs. 3.1 kcal/g).
The higher metabolizable energy value of the diets containing pearl millet is
in conformity with its higher ether extract content compared to maize. Feed
consumption was similar across diet comparisons, but the caloric value of diets
containing pearl millet was higher than those containing maize. This
observation is an indication that a compensatory increase in feed intake to
overcome a decrease in energy content of the diet does not always occur.
The apparent metabolizable energy content of the diets containing maize
determined in the nutrient utilization study are similar to values calculated
using published (NRC 1984) values for composition of feedstuffs. Using NRC
(1984) values for pearl millet underestimated the apparent metabolizable energy
contents of diets containing pearl millet by ca 0.77 kcal/g. In an experiment
on feed grain utilization in broiler diets, Sharma (1979) reported that pearl
millet had lower metabolizable energy than maize, an observation that is
contrary to the results of the present nutrient utilization studies. The fact
that broilers were used in their experiments, that the ether extract content of
maize (3.7%) and pearl millet (4.3%) were similar, and that the level of
protein meal used in their experiments were higher than that used in the
present experiments may be responsible for the disparity.
In 3-week growth performance studies with day-old ducks, maize and pearl millet
were compared on an equal-protein basis or on an equal-weight basis. At the
end of the second week of the study, the maize diets compared on an
equal-protein basis were significantly superior to the millet diets in
promoting weight gain. When compared on an equal weight, the pearl millet
diets were equal to the maize diets in promoting growth during the first 2 week
of the experiment. Furthermore, there were no significant differences in
weight gain over the 3-week period between the maize and the pearl millet
diets. Feed intake during the 3-week period of the experiment was higher in
ducks that received maize, than those that received pearl millet diets. In a
second 3-week growth performance experiment, ducks that received pearl millet
were more efficient in converting feed to body weight gains than those that
received the maize diets. This is similar to the observations reported by
Smith (1989) in broiler experiments where replacement of maize with pearl
millet improved the efficiency of feed conversion, an improvement that was
attributed to an increase in the metabolizable energy contents of diets that
contained pearl millet. Carcass protein of ducks that received the diets
containing maize was greater than in ducks that received the diets containing
pearl millet. The maize-pearl millet comparison for other carcass components
(dry matter, ether extract, and ash) was not statistically significant.
Grain pearl millet is higher in protein, amino acids, ether extract, and gross
energy than maize. However the digestible and metabolizable energy values are
lower in pearl millet than maize when fed to pigs. Replacement of maize with
pearl millet on an equal-weight basis in the diets of young pigs has no adverse
effect on growth performance, other than slight increases in gain and feed
intake. The use of pearl millet in diets formulated on an equal digestible
amino acid basis results in slower growth rate than maize-based diets. In duck
diets, pearl millet appears to have a similar feeding value to maize when
substituted for maize on an equal-weight basis. In contrast to pigs, pearl
millet diets have higher metabolizable energy than those containing maize.
Equal-weight replacement of maize with pearl millet in the diets of ducks has
no adverse effects on weight gains.
- Adeola, O., J.C. Rogler, and T.W. Sullivan. 1994. Pearl millet in diets of
White Pekin ducks. Poult. Sci. 73:425-435.
- Andrews, D.J., and K.A. Kumar. 1992. Pearl millet for food, feed, and forage.
Adv. Agron. 48:89-139.
- Burton , G.W., A.T. Wallace, and K.O. Rachie. 1972. Chemical composition and
nutritive value of pearl millet [Pennisetum typhoide (Burm.) Staph and
E. C. Hubbard] grain. Crop Sci. 12:187-188.
- Chung, T.K. and D.H. Baker. 1992. Ideal amino acid pattern for 10 kilogram
pigs. J. Anim. Sci. 70:3102-3111.
- Ejeta, G., M.M. Hassen, and E.T. Mertz. 1987. In vitro digestibility and amino
acid composition of pearl millet (Pennisetum typhoides) and other
cereals. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (USA) 84:6016-6019.
- Haydon, K.D. and S.E. Hobbs. 1991. Nutrient digestibilities of soft winter
wheat, improved triticale cultivars, and pearl millet for finishing pigs. J.
Anim. Sci. 69:719-725.
- Hill, G.M. and W.W. Hanna, 1990. Nutritive characteristics of pearl millet
grain in beef cattle diets. J. Anim. Sci. 68:2061-2066.
- Lawrence, B.V., O. Adeola, and T.R. Cline. 1994. Nitrogen utilization and lean
growth performance of 20- to 50-kilogram pigs fed diets balanced for
lysine:energy ratio. J. Anim. Sci. 72:2887-2895.
- Lawrence, B.V., O. Adeola, and J.C. Rogler. 1995. Nutrient digestibility and
growth performance of pigs fed pearl millet as a replacement for corn. J. Anim.
- Lin, F.D., D.A. Knabe, and T.D. Tanksley, Jr. 1987. Apparent digestibility of
amino acids, gross energy and starch in maize, sorghum, wheat, barley, oat
groats and wheat middlings for growing pigs. J. Anim. Sci. 64:1655-1663.
- National Research Council. 1984. Nutrients requirements of poultry. 8th ed.
National Academy Press, Washington, DC.
- Sharma, B.D., V.R. Sadagopan, and V.R. Reddy. 1979. Utilization of different
cereals in broiler diets. Brit. Poult. Sci. 20:371-378.
- Singh, S.D., and C.S. Barsaul. 1976. Replacement of maize by coarse grains for
growth and production in White Leghorn and Rhode Island Red birds. Ind. J.
Anim. Sci. 46:96-99.
- Smith, R.L., L.S. Jensen, C.S. Hoveland, and W.W. Hanna. 1989. Use of pearl
millet, sorghum, and triticale grain in broiler diets. J. Prod. Agr. 2:78-82.
- Sullivan, T.W., J.H. Douglas, D.J. Andrews, P.L. Bowland, J.D. Hancock, P.J.
Bramel-Cox, W.D. Stegmeier, and J.R. Brethour. 1990. Nutritional value of pearl
millet for food and feed. p. 83-94. In: Proc. International Conference on
Sorghum Nutritional Quality, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN.
- Wang, T.C. and M.F. Fuller. 1990. The effect of the plane of nutrition on the
optimum dietary amino acid pattern for growing pigs. Anim. Prod. 50:155-164.
*This research was supported by the Indiana Business Modernization and
Table 1. Nutrient composition of maize and two samples of pearl millet
on a dry matter basis
zPearl millet grown at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln,
|Variable ||Maize ||Nebraskaz ||Indianay|
|Dry matter (%) ||88.9 ||89.2 ||89.1|
|Ether extract (%) ||3.0 ||6.9 || 6.2|
|Neutral detergent fiber (%) ||14.5 ||18.2 ||15.3|
|Acid detergent fiber (%) ||2.9 ||4.1 || 4.1|
|Ash (%) ||5.7 ||6.7 || 6.1|
|Gross energy (kcal/g) ||4.33 ||4.53 || 4.52|
|Crude protein (%) ||8.4 ||11.5 ||12.5|
|Essential amino acid (%)|
|Histidine ||.21 ||.27 ||.29|
|Isoleucine ||.39 ||.59 ||.68|
|Leucine ||.95 ||1.03 ||1.16|
|Lysine ||.23 ||.35 ||.36|
|Methionine ||.17 ||.23 ||.23|
|Phenylalanine ||.40 ||.54 ||.59|
|Threonine ||.27 ||.41 ||.44|
|Tryptophan ||.07 ||.19 ||.21|
|Valine ||.39 ||.58 ||.64|
yPearl millet grown at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.
Table 2. Performance of growing pigs fed two different amino acid
patterns in maize-based and pearl millet-based diets.
z Diet 1 was maize-based and formulated to contain digestible
valine, isoleucine, tryptophan, total sulfur amino acids, and threonine at 68%,
60%, 18%, 60%, and 65%, respectively of digestible lysine. Diet 2 was pearl
millet-based and formulated to contain digestible valine, isoleucine,
tryptophan, total sulfur amino acids, and threonine at 68%, 60%, 18%, 60%, and
65%, respectively of digestible lysine. Diets 3 and 4 were maize- and pearl
millet-based diets, respectively; and formulated to contain digestible total
sulfur amino acids and threonine at ratios of 65 and 70% of lysine,
|Dietz ||Initial weight (kg) ||Final weight (kg) ||Daily gain (kg/d) ||Daily feed (kg/d) ||Gain/feed (kg/kg) ||Days on feed ||Number of pigs per diet|
|1 ||19.47 ||52.33 ||1.07ay ||2.45ab ||.44 ||30.75bc ||12|
|2 ||19.55 ||52.00 ||1.01b ||2.22b ||.46 ||32.25ab ||12|
|3 ||19.25 ||51.98 ||1.08a ||2.54a ||.46 ||30.05c ||12|
|4 ||19.23 ||52.27 ||1.02b ||2.21b ||.46 ||32.50a ||12|
|SD || .6 || 1.29 || .07 || .30 ||.05 ||2.04|
yMean separation in column by Neuman-Keuls' test, 5% level.
Last update June 5, 1997