Nutritional evaluation of Ficus thonningii Blume leaves as ruminant livestock feed in the Ahferom district of Tigray, Ethiopia
AbstractWe evaluated the fodder quality of Ficus thonningii Blume in the Ahferom district of Tigray, Ethiopia. Determination of foliar macronutrients and proximate chemical compositions was undertaken using five diameter classes (11–20, 21–30, 31–40, 41–50 and 51–60 cm at breast height). In both cases, four replications in randomised complete blocks were considered. Data on foliar nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), digestible crude protein (DCP), ether extract (EE), crude fibre (CF), ash content and nitrogen free extract (NFE) were collected. Results revealed that the tree diameter size had an effect on foliar N, P, K, DM, CP, DCP, EE and CF, whereas it had no effect on ash content and NFE. The results also showed that F. thonningii leaves are a good source of nutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates and minerals) as well as fibre and are within the recommended range for ruminant livestock growth and development. Hence, use of F. thonningii as a supplement/substitute livestock feed to low-quality grasses during the periods of feed scarcity should be widely considered.
Keywords: leaf proximate composition, macronutrients, tree fodder
African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2013, 30(3): 149–154