Evaluation of the Nutritional Potentials of Selected Multipurpose Fodder Trees for Use in Livestock Diets
This experiment was conducted to evaluate the nutritional potentials of selected multipurpose fodder trees for use in livestock diets. Fresh leaves from five fodder tree species notably Gmelina arborea, Leucaena leucocephala, Tectona grandis, Persea americana and Dactyledila barteri obtained from the forestry unit of Imo State Polytechnic Teaching and Research Farm were used for the experiment. The leaves were harvested from young trees chopped, sun-dried accordingly and subjected to proximate, mineral and phytochemical analyses. The result of the experiment indicates that L. leucocephala and T. grandis had the highest protein content of 22.84%, while D. barteri recoded the highest energy value of 12.271 k/g (2921 kcal/kg). L. leucocephala and T. grandis also had the highest ash content of 5.022 and 6.702% respectively. The highest calcium value of 1.708± 0.036 was recorded by G. arborea. There was significant difference (p<0.05) across the treatment means. From the result, it could be deduced that the multipurpose tree fodder leaves contain appreciable levels of nutritional constituents that could substitute conventional feedstuffs. The phytochemical study revealed that the fodders have tolerable levels of anti-nutritive factors and thus may not be deleterious to animals when consumed.
Keywords: Multipurpose fodder trees, livestock, phytochemicals, anti-nutritive factors