Authors : Eroarome Martin Aregheore
Abstract: Laboratory analyses on chemical characterization of batiki grass (BG), forage legumes - Leucaena leucocephala (L), or Erythrina variegata (E), or Gliricidia sepium (G) and Calliandra calothyrsus (C) and BG/forage legumes (L, E, G and C) mixtures were carried out. Data obtained from the chemical characterization were used to predict the nutritive value of BG, forage legumes and BG/forage legume mixtures. CP content of BG at 4.3 % was low. The CP content of the forage legumes ranged between 18.6 - 30.7 %. Various BG/legume mixtures varied from 5.6 - 25.4 % CP. Except for C, NDF and ADF decreased with subsequent increase in the level of BG/forage legume mixtures. There were numerical differences between similar levels of BG/legume mixtures in nutrient contents. Chemical characterization data predicted optimum BG/forage legume mixtures at 50:50 (BG/L); 70:30 (BG/E); 50:50 (BG/G) and 50:50 (BG/C) with CP content that ranged between 11 - 12 %. Four steer calves initial average body weight of 147.1 " 6.95 kg and 8 - 12 m old were allotted into four treatments in a randomized 4 x 4 Latin Square design to evaluate BG, BG/L, BG/E and BG/G on dry matter (DM) intake, estimates of daily live-weight gain/loss (ADG) and apparent nutrient digestibility. DM intake of BG was numerically low, while DM intake of BG/L was numerically higher than BG/E or BG/G. BG/G had low acceptability and steer calves had preference for leaves of L and E. ADG of steer calves were 172, 375, 328 and 259 g/head/d-1 for BG, BG/L, BG/E and BG/G diets, respectively. ADG was relatively lower (P<0.05) in BG. Among the forage legumes, BG/G steer calves had the least ADG. Apparent digestibility of all the components measured was subsequently higher (P<0.05) in BG/L and BG/E. In conclusion chemical characterization data were used to predict the nutritive value of BG, forage legumes and BG/forage legume mixtures and optimum CP level for improved DM intake, ADG and nutrient utilization was established. Erythrina had the highest CP content and this influenced the daily protein intake of steer calves in BG/E mixture at 1325 g protein N/kg0.75/d. Steer calves on BG/L had higher DMI, better ADG, apparent digestibility of DM, CP, NDF, OM, energy and nutritive value index.
Eroarome Martin Aregheore , 2003. Nutritional Characterization and Evaluation of Batiki Grass (Ischaemum aristatum var. indicum) and Batiki Grass-Forage Legume Mixtures with Steer Calves . Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 2: 404-412.