Nutritional evaluation of forest tree leaves as livestock feed in sub mountainous region of India



Samples of 7 species of forest tree leaves, fed to livestock in the semi-hilly arid zone of Punjab state in India, were collected at 30-day intervals for 12 months for evaluating their nutritional worth for livestock. The ground samples were pooled for dry hot, hot humid, fall and winter seasons. Irrespective of the season, the chemical composition revealed that the leaves of Acacia modesta (phulahi) and Butea monosperma (dhak) had higher crude protein then other leaves. The ether extract was the highest in Phoenix acaulis (khajur) and a lowest in (kango) leaves. The leaves of khajur and bans were highly fibrous. The leaves of Anogeissus latifolia (chall) had the highest concentration of cell solubles while that of Bambusa arundinace a (bans) had the lowest. Irrespective of the species of tree leaves, the season did not show any significant impact on the CP, OM and total ash content of tree leaves. The NDF, cellulose, hemicellulose and ADL contents were the lowest in summer and the highest concentration of NDF, ADF and ADL content was observed in winter. The relative proportion of globulins and prolamins predominated in most of the leaves. The leaves of kango had the highest Ca content followed by dhak and the lowest in khajur leaves. The leaves of dhak had the highest concentration of Mg, Co and Mn. The leaves of chall had the highest concentration of total tannins, but 98% of these were hydrolysable, while the leaves of Bauhinia variegata (kachnar) had the highest concentration of condensed tannins (77% of total tannins). The digestion kinetic parameters for DM, CP and NDF revealed that irrespective of season, the effective and true degradability were the highest in leaves of chall followed by that of kango leaves, but lowest in khajur, dhak and bans leaves. The leaves of chall had the lowest rumen fill value predicting highest voluntary intake, while reverse trend was observed in khajur, dhak and bans leaves. Irrespective of the species of tree leaves, the degradability of leaves as indicated by most of digestion kinetic parameters was highest in summer followed by that in fall and the lowest in winter. The rumen fill value was the lowest in summer predicting highest voluntary intake followed by fall and highest rumen fill was observed in winter predicting lowest intake. It was concluded that the leaves of chall and kango had great potential as livestock feed, while feeding of khajur, dhak and bans leaves should be avoided.


Forest tree leaves; In- sacco degradability; Mineral profile; Protein fractions; Tannins

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