Changes in Nutritive Value of Siratro Forage with Age1
- Lotar Siewerdt and
- Ethan C. Holt2
Nutritive value characteristics are not as well documented for tropical legumes as for temperate legumes and grasses. ‘Siratro’ (Phaseolus atropurpureus D.C.), a tropical legume, was grown under field conditions in soil classified as a udertic haplustoll with adequate moisture, to determine its nutritive value as affected by plant age. Plant samples, harvested at the ground level every 2 weeks, beginning at the 4th week after establishment and continuing to 26 weeks of age, were separated into leaf, petiole, and stem fractions and analyzed for crude protein (CP) and in vitro digestible dry matter (IVDDM). The nutritional value of Siratro was relatively high at all times, averaging 68% IVDDM for whole plants over a 26-week period. During the first 18 weeks of growth, leaves averaged 75% IVDDM, ranging from 74 to 77%; stems averaged 61%, ranging from 59 to 63%; and petioles averaged 70%, ranging from 67 to 73%. Crude protein averaged 15% for whole plants and was highest during the first 8 weeks of growth. After the 16th week, CP content remained stable at about 13%. Leaves had the highest CP content, averaging 21% with values ranging from 15 to 23%. All three plant portions showed a declining pattern, with time, in percent of both CP and IVDDM, but the change was less than that found in perennial tropical grasses.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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