Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 561-567

First online:

Nutritive value of some tropical grasses used by traditional small farms in the highlands of Burundi

  • André NivyobiziAffiliated withUnité de biochimie de la nutrition, Université catholique de Louvain Email author 
  • , Armand DeswysenAffiliated withUnité de génétique appliquée, Université catholique de Louvain
  • , Daniel DeharengAffiliated withAgence fédérale pour la sécurité de la chaîne alimentaire, Unité provinciale de contrôle du Brabant wallon
  • , Alain PeetersAffiliated withUnité d’écologie des prairies, Université catholique de Louvain
  • , Yvan LarondelleAffiliated withUnité de biochimie de la nutrition, Université catholique de Louvain

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The objective was to estimate—according to the French feeding system—the nutritive value of three tropical grasses (Eragrostis olivacea, Setaria sphacelata and Tripsacum laxum) used in traditional small farms of Burundi. Dry matter (DM) yield was monitored on anti-erosive hedges or on small fields in 60 small farms for eight consecutive years. DM intake and digestibility values were measured on seven steers or seven male sheep. Degradability values were determined on three sheep. S. sphacelata exhibited higher DM yield (t ha−1), energy (UF, kg−1 DM) and protein (PDI, g kg−1 DM) values (17.3, 0.73 and 68, respectively) than T. laxum (9.11, 0.64 and 47) and E. olivacea (not determined, 0.46 and 42). The UF and PDI intakes of these grass species were able to meet only 51% to 92% of the energy and 59% to 133% of the protein requirements for maintenance of the experimental animals.


Nutritive value Tropical grasses In vivo In sacco Small farms