Nutritional values of indigenous browse and herbaceous legume species for ruminants in Ethiopia: a meta-analysis
Sisay Belete1, Adugna Tolera1, Uta Dickhöfer2
1Hawassa University, School of Animal and Range Sciences, Ethiopia
Browse trees/shrubs and herbaceous forage legumes play a crucial role in providing nutrients for livestock, particularly ruminants. Due to their high protein content and better digestibility compared to common tropical grasses, they have the potential to be used as protein-rich supplements for ruminants. Thus, proper utilisation of these underutilised fodder sources in Ethiopia requires establishment of comprehensive data on their nutritional composition and performance response of ruminants to the diets containing these feed resources. This quantitative review summarised nutritional value and the effects of including foliage from browse species and herbaceous forage legumes in the diets of ruminants. Herzing's Publish or Perish free software was used to identify 134 papers published in Ethiopia (62 on the in vitro nutritional value and 72 on in vivo studies) from the web databases of Google Scholars, Scopus, and PubMed. The results demonstrate that although the nutritional values are largely variable, foliage of browse species and herbaceous forage legumes studied can be classified as nutrient-rich diets for ruminants. Browse species and herbaceous forage legumes had crude protein content of 17.3% (5.2-32.4%) and 20.2% (9.1-30.1%), and in vitro organic matter digestibility of 59.3% (33.2-89.3%) and 54.7% (39.7-69.3%), respectively. Because of these nutritional advantages and moderate fiber (NDF, ADF, and ADL) concentration, supplementation of both fodder sources to low quality basal diets increased dry matter intake and average daily weight gain of the animals. The presence of large variation in their nutritional composition may provide an opportunity to screen species and varieties of high nutritional quality traits. Moreover, determination of optimum inclusion level is also essential for best performance.
Keywords: Browse species, forage legumes, ruminants
Contact Address: Sisay Belete, Hawassa University, School of Animal and Range Sciences, Tabor 05, Hawassa, Ethiopia, e-mail: cisbeletegmail.com