Seasonal variation in nutritive value of four browse species used by smallholder farmers for livestock in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

Author: S. Mthi, J.M. Rust, S. Washaya, D.D. Washaya, T.L. Morgenthal & B. Sondzaba
Year: 2021
Issue: 1
Volume: 14
Page: 40 - 49

The use of browse plants as livestock feed during the dry season can improve deficiency of certain nutrients and sustain livestock production under small-scale farming system. This study was conducted to investigate the seasonal variation of nutrients of four browse species in the Eastern Cape Province. Samples (2kg) of fresh leaves from Vachellia karoo, Prunus persica, Vepris lanceolata and Diospyros dichrophylla were collected during winter, spring and summer. The experiment was a completely randomized design with three replicates for each species in each season. The chemical composition of these samples was determined using standard laboratory analytical techniques. The results indicate that, crude protein (CP) content range from 1.84% to 19.9% for winter and spring respectively. The average CP content was higher (P < 0.05) 16.0% in P. Persica compared to 15.29, 13.28 and 6.47% for V. lanceolata, V. karoo and D. dichrophylla respectively. A range of 1.06% to 34.9% and 5.9% to 20.5% values were recorded for ether extract (EE) and ash respectively, while the mean values for neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and acid detergent fibre (ADF) ranged from 17.4 to 69.54 and 17.59 to 37.11 respectively. The condense tannin (CT) content of browse species were observed to vary widely (P < 0.05) ranging from 0.12% (P. persica) to 28.89% (V. Karoo). The Ca, Na, P, and Fe contents were influenced by species while the Mg, Na, P, K Zn, Cu differed among seasons (P < 0.05). The results of this study showed that Vachellia karoo, Prunus persica, Vepris lanceolata contained adequate levels of nutrients to support ruminant animal production while Diospyros dichrophylla does not. Mthi S_2021 Vol 14 (1)

Keywords: chemical composition, Diospyros dichrophylla, Prunus persica, Vachellia karoo, Vepris lanceolata
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