Evaluation of Nutritive Value of Selected Browse Plants for Dry Season Supplementation in Semi-Arid Nigeria
An experiment was conducted at the University of Maiduguri Teaching and Research Farm, to evaluate the nutritive value of some browse plants for supplementation during the dry season. The browses were leaves of Acacia nilotica, Adansonia digitata, Khaya senegalensis, Ficus polita, Moringa oleifera, Ziziphus spinochristi, Guierra senegalensis, Anogeissus leiocarpus as well as Ziziphus spinochristi pods. The results of the proximate analysis showed that the dry matter content of the browse plants differed (P<0.05) significantly and ranged from 82.36 % in Acacia nilotica to 95.40 % in Guiera senegalensis. Moringa oleifera leaves recorded the highest (P<0.05) crude protein content of 24.85% while the least value of 8.89 % was in Ziziphus spinochristi. There was an increase in dry matter degradability as the incubation time increased in all the browse plants. Dry matter degradability at 48, 72 and 96 hours of incubation were high (P<0.05) in most browses except for Guierra senegalensis and Anogeissus leiocarpus leaves. The soluble dry matter fraction (a) was higher (P<0.05) in Moringa oleifera leaves. The insoluble but degradable fraction (b) were high (P<0.05) among the browse plants. Lower (P<0.05) values of rate of degradation (c) were recorded except for Ziziphus spinochristi pods. Potential degradability (a + b) were significantly (P<0.05) high in all browse plants. The highest (P<0.05) in vitro gas production of 48.30 ml at 24 hours was recorded for Moringa oleifera leaves. Similarly, values of insoluble but fermentable fraction b (165.73 ml), metaboilsable energy (10.23 MJ/kg DM), organic matter digestibility (76.90%) and short chain fatty acid (1.094 mmol) in Moringa oleifera leaves were significantly (P<0.05) higher than the other browse plants. The study showed that the leaves of the browse plants had reasonable amount of nutrients and as such can serve as potential supplement for ruminants during the dry season in Nigeria.
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