NORMAN MARTÍN CASAS, MARIO REINOSO-PÉREZ, METTE OLAF NIELSEN
University of Copenhagen, Dept. of Veterinary Clinical and Animal Sciences, Denmark
Universidad Central Marta Abreu de Las Villas, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Cuba
Dichrostachys cinerea (L.) Wight & Arn. is an invasive leguminous shrub which has occupied a significant proportion of Cuba's agricultural land over the past decades, thus becoming a primary threat to national food security. As a result of the difficulty to rid this pesky plant through traditional methods, a twofold alternative approach has been considered: to promote improved control of its spread by integrating it into sustainable production systems while making profitable use of its potential products. D. cinerea pods contain acceptable amounts of protein, which could be of a benefit for Cuba's smallholder pig sector, which is mainly constrained by the lack of locally-produced protein concentrates and the added difficulties to import them from abroad. Consequently, this work aims to evaluate the potential of including D. cinerea pods into pig diets in Cuba. Results will be presented from a study, where different methodologies were applied. Firstly, nutrient composition was determined by proximate analyses. Secondly, an on"=farm feeding trial over a 60-day period has been put into practice, including substitution of D. cinerea pods for commercial feed at 0%, 15% and 30% levels. Different parameters were evaluated among the three tested groups: net weight gain, daily weight gain, parasites in feces and blood parameters. In addition, an in"=vivo digestibility trial is being carried out by applying the difference method against a feed source of a known digestibility value. This has been followed by another in"=vitro digestibility trial for organic matter at the ileal level, using the enzymatic method.
Keywords: Cinerea, Cuba, Dichrostachys, feeding, mimosa, pig