Assessment of Grewia oppositifolia leaves as crude protein supplement to low-quality forage diets of sheep
Khan, N.A. ; Habib, G. - \ 2012
Tropical Animal Health and Production 44 (2012)7. - ISSN 0049-4747 - p. 1375 - 1381.
tree leaves - northern grasslands - nutrient digestion - detergent fiber - pakistan - feed - degradability - rangeland - rumen
In the tropical arid and semi-arid regions of many developing countries, sheep are predominantly grazed on low-quality pastures and stall-fed on crop residues. This study evaluated the potential of Grewia oppositifolia tree leaves as crude protein (CP) supplement to the low-quality diets of sheep in comparison with cottonseed cake (CSC). Changes in the chemical composition of the leaves with progressive maturation (December to March) were studied. The leaves maintained a high CP content (> 164 g/kg dry matter (DM)) during the prolonged maturation in the winter feed scarcity period. The leaves were rich in Ca (41 g/kg DM) and K (89 g/kg DM). The rate of degradation and effective degradability of CP were consistently higher (P <0.001) in CSC than in G. oppositifolia. A balance trial in a 4 x 4 Latin square design with four mature Ramghani wethers showed that DM intake, DM and CP digestibility, and N retention did not differ with the substitution of CSC with G. oppositifolia leaves, as a supplement to a basal diet of sorghum hay. Body weight (BW) gain and wool yield responses to the supplements were examined with 36 lambs (27 +/- 3 kg BW; age 11 +/- 1 months) for 15 weeks. The lambs were only grazed on local pasture (control group) or supplemented with CSC, G. oppositifolia leaves, and their mixture on iso-N basis. Addition of the supplements increased (P <0.05) BW gain and wool yield, and the leaves were as effective as CSC. These results demonstrated that G. oppositifolia leaves provide good quality green fodder during the prolonged winter feed scarcity period, and that the leaves can be efficiently utilized as a CP supplement to the low-quality diets of sheep.