Cereal stovers are relatively poor in nutritive value, which is concentrated in the harvested grain, but are widely used for feeding ruminants, often when other feeds are inadequate or unavailable towards the end of the dry season. The total value of these crops therefore lies in their grain yield as well as the use of the stovers for livestock feed.
Cereal stovers are widely used for feeding ruminant livestock, and in semi-arid areas. Sorghum stover may be an important part of livestock diets during the dry season, helping to maintain condition and increase survival.
Harvesting maize at grain milk stage for human food (roasting and boiling) is also popular. Stovers harvested at grain milk stage are greener and more appealing to ruminants, hence generally have high palatability. More importantly, they have been shown to have higher nutritive quality due to lower fibre content as compared to stovers harvested at later maturity stage. Given that maize stover is potentially an important source of roughage for dairy cattle production, improvement in their utilization is expected to result into considerable positive impact on the overall productivity.