Nigerian Journal of Animal Science

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Effect of nitrogen fertilization application and maturity of wild sunflower on chemical composition and rumen degradation characteristics in sheep

GO Farinu, J Akinlade, IO Adekunle


This study was conducted to investigate the influence of three levels of Nitrogen (N) fertilizer application (0, 125 and 250kg N/ha) and stage of maturity on chemical composition and degradation characteristics of wild sunflower forage meal in West African Dwarf sheep. Nitrogen (0,125 and 250 kg N/ha) as NPK was applied to field plots of established wild sunflower (Tithoninia diversifolia (Hemsl). A Grey). Sunflower fertilized with 250 kg N/ha had lower neutral detergent fiber (NDF) than those not fertilized (57vs 35). Leaf crude protein increased with increased N applied. Crude protein content of leaf decreased and NDF increased with maturity. NDF and crude protein degradation were improved with increased N application. This increase in CP increased N disappearance in the rumen as measured by in-sacco study. This might result in increased problem with utilization of wild sunflower N by the ruminants. Dry matter, nitrogen and neutral detergent fiber degradation declined with delayed harvest. Based on chemical composition and the effect of maturity on degradation characteristics of wild sunflower, 125kg N/ha was considered adequate and the forage could be harvested between the ages of 7-8weeks after the onset of flowering.

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