Nutritional value of safflower whole seed as animal feed in semi-arid southern African conditions
Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is a multipurpose crop, grown for its high quality edible oil (poly unsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids), and as a horticultural crop (vegetable and cut flower). It is also grown for flavouring and colouring foods, as herbal tea, livestock feed, pharmaceuticals, dyes, paints and biodiesel.The objective of this study wasto evaluate the influence of safflower genotype on the nutritional quality of whole seed used as livestock feed. Nine safflower genotypes (eight exotic and one local) were grown in winter and summer. The seeds were harvested at physiological maturity and analysed for different nutritional variables. Whole safflower seeds dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fibre (NDF), acid detergent fibre (ADF), acid detergent lignin (ADL) and ash varied significantly, depending on genotype and growing season. The seed mineral content (P, K, Mg and Na) also varied across genotypes. Safflower whole seeds have great potential to serve as an excellent livestock feed in semi-arid conditions.