17. Role of Browse Shrubs/trees as Animal Feed in Nepal
Rameshwar Singh Pande
(Published in : RS Pande, 1991. Role of Browse Shrubs/trees as Animal Feed in Nepal, Animal Science Research Production and extension in Nepal. Proceedings of the First National Animal Science Convention January 14-15, 1991, Nepal Animal Science Association (NASA), Nepal)
Browse shrubs/ trees serve as supplementary diet as well as sole diet for ruminant especially in hill areas of Nepal. Over 136 different species of browse have been used as a source of anial feed. Most of the leaves of browse are of low palatability and low digestibility. Many contain secondary compounds. Leguminous species are relatively high in nutritive value compared to non- legumes. browse provide approximately 41 per cent of the total DM in annual feed supply and 12 per cent in the diet of dairy stocks. Use of fodder in hilly areas was estimated 655 kg/caput and for bedding materials 459 kg/caput. There is no attempt to assess animal preference or diferent browse species. Goats have been found to prefer for browse than cattle and sheep whenever available. Browse species may not be an efficient diet for livestock but as a supplement with poor quality roughage such as straw, browse can serve as an excellent feed especially, in dry season when herbacious species fail to meet the optimum level of production. more research work is needed for the better use of browse.
Foliage of shrubs/trees as animal feed during winter and summer dry period have been the important traditional source of green feed for livestock in the hills of Nepal and mountainous region. Shrubs and trees are useful for soil conservation, to maintain agricultural sustainability and to counter act the green house effect. Plantation of shrub/trees is an ecological sound practice (pande, 1990) especiallay in Nepal where denudation is a big problem.
It was estimated that browse either planted or forest trees/shrubs provide approximately 41 % of DM in annual feed supply (Panday, 1982).
Study on the proportion of tree fodder in the diet of different livestock feed is lacking. Panday (1990a) estimats that about 12 % of foliage of trees/shrubs has been supplemented with other roughages to dairy cattle in Nepal. A household survey carried out in Chautara, Nepal showed that the use of the fodder was 655 kg per caput, and use of litter for bedding materials was 459 kg per caput ( New Era, 1980).
Despite to provide fodder and bedding material to livestock shrubs are trees also provide fuel wood, fencing materials and timber for house construction. Fuel wood is the major source of the energy needs. It was estimated that fuel wood provides more than 87% of the country’s energy need (Manandhar, 1980; Danovan, 1981). Campbell (1985) found that average annual consumption of fuel wood in hill areas of Nepal was 640 kg per caput.
Trees/shrubs not only provide fodder and fuel wood at the same time also serve as an excellent source for soil improvement and conservation (Brewbaker, 1983). For example, leguminous browse species are able to fix 500 kg N/ha/Yr (Weighinglin, 1987). Plantation of shrubs/trees along the counters is widely recommended to reduce the run off of water and protect terrace (Lundgren and nair, 1983; Gilmour, 1984; Weirsum, 1984; Benge, 1987). By plantation shrubs/trees soil erosion can be reduced to about one one ton of soil per acre as compared with annual loss of about 30 tonnes under a typical crop producton system (Maharajan, 1987).
FEED VALUE OF BROWSE
Browse serves as a supplementary diet as well as sole diet for ruminant. Browse constitutes a valuable source of feed for livestock especially during lean period. Panday (1990b) reviewed the nutritive value of browse species. In his review he pointed out that different browse species which are commonly used in Nepal had an average 18.7 % CP content which is generally considered to be high. Similarly, Panday (1982) listed the chemical composition of 49 different species of browse species which contain 13.6 % CP (Range 5.2 to 29.7 % of DM) . mahato et al (1989) reported that protein content in 6 Ficus species were ranged 8.5 to 13.5 % which was higher than the protein requirement of lactating ruminant. However, the dry matter digestibility (DMD) was low ranging from 24.4 to 54.1 %.
Ranawana (1987) reported that out of 200 different plants fed to animals in Sri Lanka analysis of 30 different species of browsetree/shrubs (17 trees and 13 shrubs) contain on an average 180 g CP/kg DM in tree species and 165 g CP/kg DM in shrub species. Digestibility was 56 and 57 respectively. But Ranawana (1987) did not mentioned the individual species in his analysis (Table-1).
Rose-Innes and Mabey (1964) found that shrubs were highest in CP content compared to herbs, grasses and tree species in West African rangelands conditions from the CP content point of viewthe rank of different plant groups were shrubs> herbs> trees> grasses.
Most of the browse species contain adequate amount of trace elements such as Mn, Zn, Fe, Ca and K. hovwever, many browse species are low in Na, P and cu (Jones, 1979; NAS, 1979) Bohra and Ghose, 1980; Panday, 1982; Ranawana, 1987; Gupta and Balaraman, 1989).
Leguminous fodder tree species are relatively higher in nutritive value compared to non-leguminous species. For example, Nitrogen (N) content in tagasaste (Chamaecytisus palmensis) was found 3.2 percent DM and in vitro dry matter digestibility (DMD) was 69.3 (Pande, 1990). Similarly, widely used browse species Leucaena contain 2.9percent and in -vitro DMD was 62.2 (Cheva-isarakull & Polikanond, 1985. However, browse species are generally higher in fibber content compared to grasses in flush season inNorth- eastern hill condition in India (Verma et al, 1981)..
Table -1: Chemical composition,digestibility (% DM) of tree and shrub species (adapted from Ranawana, 1987)
Composition Unit Trees S.E Shrubs S.E
CP g/ KG DM 180 60 164 63
Ash g/ KG DM 80 30 100 38
NDF g/ KG DM 429 86 430 102
Lignin g/ KG DM 118 39 97 44
Ca g/ KG DM 2 1 3 0.7
P g/ KG DM 0.6 0.06 0.6 0.06
Digestibility % DM 0.56 0.06 0.60 0.6
The information on animal performance of browse for different species are limited. Study on feed value of browse shrubs/tree foliage of different species in aboard show that Leucaena leucocephala is the most widely grown browse shrub in the tropics (NAS, 1977; Jones, 1979). When leucaena was fed as a sole diet animals were able to maintain their live weight during the experimental period but leucaena with other roughage gave excellent result (Jones, 1979; Panjaitan and Blair, 1984
Pande (1990) observed that feeding valeu of tagasate (Chamaecytisus palmensis) was similar to lucerne hay chaff for goats in housed condition. despite the high CP content in many browse species, most of the tree fodder are considered as maintenance ration. For example, Marugar and Kathaperumal (1987) reported that sheep lost their body weight during 84 days feeding trial when Azadirachta indica (CP-11.7 %) and Enterolobium saman (CP-9-14 %) leaves were fed as a sole diet under stallfed conditions. however, they found that on the sole diet of Ficus religiosa (CP-11.6%) sheep able to maintain the body weight.
Browse shrub/trees may not be an efficient diet for livestock but as a supplement with poor quality roughages such as straw and poor quality grasses, browse may serve as an excellent feed especially in dray season. Van Eys et al (1986) reported that there were increased growth rate in growing goats when napier grass supplemented with tree legumes like gliricidia, leucaena and sesbania compared to napier grass alone in Indonesia.
Reynolds and Adediran (1988) reported that lamb growth rate increased when Panicum maximum and cassava peel were supplemented with Leucaena leucocephala and Gliricidia sepium leaves were fed as a basal diet (in 1:w/w) compared to control diet of Panicum maximum and cassava peel alone.
Information on feed value of browse species as a sole diet and with other roughages in Nepalese conditions for different stocks is lacking. Panday (1989) ; Pradahan (1989); Pariyar (1989); Robinson and Thompson (1989) and many others suggested a eries of research works needed in the field of ruminant nutrition, pasture and fodder tree production and management in Nepalese condition.
PREFERENCE FOR BROWSE AND BROWSING
Preference for the food plants vary according to animal species. Different animals express different selective pattern (Hodgson, 1986; Pande, 1990). There is no attempt to access the animal preference for different browse species in Nepal. Panday (1982); Amatya (1990) and panday (1990b) discussed the farmers preference for different browse species and suggested that farmer’s preference may not be only the criteria for selecting suitable browse species. To evaluate the most promising browse species there is an urgent need to assist preference ranking ranking for diffreent stocks in different conditions.
In New Zealand, Pande (1990) observed that there was a clear order of preference for the diet when 9 different browse species and 2 erect grass species were offered to goats and sheep in a cafeterai trial, and there was a distnict efect of season on preference rankimg. Order of preference between goats and sheep were braodly similar.
To determine the animals the animaal preference for browse species one must consider that preference for plant material by animal is greatly influenced by animal behaviour and plant characteristics ( Hodgson, 1986; Pande 1990). The relative abundance, accessibility and palatabolity are the major determinants of plant characteristics. In most of the Nepalese situation, browse is offered in stallfed condition, again most of the animals are underfed and they are hungry, in such situation there will be likely to be little chance for preference and selectivity.
Published data on the grazing behaviour and preference for browsing behaviour show that goats utilise browse more than any other ruminant. Devendra (1987) categorised goat as browsers and sheep and cattle as grazers. Van Dyne et al (1980) reviewed the wide range of literature and concluded that the overall contribution of browse in greater in goat diet than in sheep and cattle (Table -2). However, Sharma (1985) reported that cattle and buffaloes are the most utilise of fodder trees compared to goat in mid-hills of Nepal but he did not mentioned whether the browse were offered in stall- fed or in free ranging conditions.
Table -2: Proportions of the major plant groups in the diet of different ruminant species (adapted from Van Dyne et al, 1980)
Animal species Plant species
Shrubs/trees Forbs Grasses
Cattle 15 15 70
Sheep 20 30 50
Goats 60 10 30
LIMITATIONS OF BROWSE
Presence of secondary compounds:
Most of the browse species contain a wide range of inhibitors such as alkaloids, amino acids, cyanogenic, glycosides, organic acids hydrocyanic acids etc (Bulter and Bakaym 1973; Panday, 1982; Barry and Blarey, 1987) Table -3.. These secondary compound affects on forage quality and animal performance by various mean. Panday (1982) listed some species of browse trees and shrubs which have ill- effect on ruminant such as Bauhia variegata, Ficus roxburghii, Prunus ceresoides. Shrestha and Pakhrin (1989) concluded that the presenceof high concentartion of tannin in Ficus auriculata might be the reason for the decreased milk yield in buffaloes during the experiemental period conducted at PAC, Dhankutta.
Table-3: Common secondary compounds found in some browse species
Plant species Secondary compounds
Leucaena leucocephala memosine
Gliricidia sepium Caumarin
Salix spp Tannins
Grewia tiliaefolia Organic acid
Seneria jacobaca Pyrrilizidine
Most of the browse tree/shrubs take 5 to 20 years to yield significant amount of fodder in Nepal (Panday, 1982; Hopkins, 1985). Individual DM yields is also low. Panday (1982) estimated that on an average a mature browse tree/shrub produces 15-60 kg DM per year. Many indigenous browse species are difficult to establish and propagate, they requires certain altitude and ecological conditions. Altitude and lower radiation is the main reason for low DM yield.
Most of the browse trees/shrubs produce relatively high amount of DM at lower altitude than do in high altitude. Panday and Nosberger (1985) observed that at high radiation the growth pattern of Artocarpud lakoocha was higher compared to low radiation (<15 MJ/sqm/d). Similalry, the rate of leaf appearance was lower at higher altitude (1200 m and 1500 m
) compared to low altitude (800m). At altitude 800 m the maximum rate of leaf apperance in Articarpus lakkoocha was 118 leaves/month whereas at 1200 m and 1500 m the maximum rate of leaf appearance was 45 and 10 leaves/ month respectively in hill area near Kathmandu ( panday and Nosberger, 1985).
Choice of browse species:
There are over 550 species of tree/shrubs used as feed source in worldwide origin (Robinson, 1984).Panday (1982) and Bajracharya et al (1985) mentioned that over 136 species of tree/shrubs have been used as a source of feed in Nepal. Feed value of indigenous browse species is assumed as low compared to introduced leguminous shrub species such as leucaena. Fast growing multipurpose shrubby species are much beneficial than do the tree species. Lower growing shrubby species offer much greater potential compared to tree species from the management point of view as well. Shrubby species can be grazed directly without additional labour cost of lopping or harvesting whereas fodder from tree species must be obtained by lopping of branches.
In Nepal browse shrubs/trees play an important role, besides to supply quality fodderr, shrubs/trees are also provide fuelwood/timber, good soil protection against shallow landslide, leguminous shrubs/trees fix atmospheric nitrogen The present production level of browse shrub/trees is insuficient to meet the deman. most of the indigenous browse species are of low feed quality.
Detailed investigation on optimum lopping cycle and intensities, determination of fodder valeu and palatability, preference for different plant species by different stocks is necessary to formulate the long term strategy for the better use of browse species.
A list of better browse bspecies for different management conditions is urgently required. Popularly grown leguminous shrub species leucaena is threatened to its existence due to the spread of leucaena psyllid. Evaluation of alternative browse species should be priorities. Multipurpose leguminous shrub species such as tagasate (Chamaecytisus palmensis) and gorse (Ulex europeaus) could be an alternative shrub species in hilly areas of Nepal.
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