Influence of leaf lifespan and leaf maturity on the potential forage value of Salix spp, (willows) and Chamaecytisus palmensis (Tagasaste) in New Zealand

  • SK Oppong
  • GB Douglas
  • PD Kemp

Abstract

Maintaining quality green foliage for use as supplementary fodder in dry summers is an attribute of browse species that could help moderate the dramatic effects of herbaceous feed shortage that affect
animal performance and profitability of pastoral systems. Two Salix species and Chamaecytisus palmensis were investigated to determine their leaf lifespan and measure the effect of leaf maturation on the nutritive value of the species. The Salix spp. (6.5 months) and C. palmensis (5.5
months) had long leaf lifespans suggesting they were adapted to poor environments. Salix species tolerates wet and seasonally flooded sites and C. palmensis, dry and low fertility sites. The leaves of the species declined moderately in leaf nitrogen concentration at 3 months. Their long leaf lifespans, and reasonable nutritive values, that decline only slightly during the growing season, indicated that these browse species could potentially serve as supplementary fodder during dry summers.
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eISSN: 0855-3823