Nutritional quality of Calobota sericea fodders: A preliminary assessment
This study aimed to provide preliminary information regarding the nutritional quality of Calobota sericea, a preferred perennial legume forage species from the water-limited rangelands of South Africa. Calobota sericea plant samples were collected from the Namaqualand rangelands in the wet and dry season and analysed for secondary compounds, fibre, protein and mineral nutrient content. The results from the fibre analyses were used to determine the digestibility and energy content of fodders. Preliminary results indicate that C. sericea fodders are of better nutritional quality in the wet season and that protein content, digestibility and energy content is sufficient for maintenance of lambs and dry ewes. The energy content, however, was not sufficient for maintenance of pregnant and lactating ewes. Furthermore, certain mineral nutrients (Na, P and K) were not found in sufficient concentrations in this species, and it was thus suggested that further investigation is needed into whether fertilisation could potentially improve the protein, digestibility and mineral nutrient content of C. sericea fodders.