Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 80, Issue 2, pp 173–184 | Cite as

Chemical composition, in vitro dry matter digestibility and in sacco degradability of selected browse species used as animal feeds under semi-arid conditions in Northern Ethiopia

  • Solomon MelakuEmail author
  • Teferi Aregawi
  • Lisanework Nigatu


The study was conducted in Abergelle district of Tigray, northern Ethiopia with the objectives of evaluating the chemical composition, in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) and in sacco degradability characteristics of foliages of major browse species. Samples of foliages from 12 and 10 browse species were collected during the wet and dry seasons, respectively. The samples of the browse species were collected based on their abundance in the district, preference by livestock to browse them, accessibility to browsing and their additional uses other than livestock feed. The neutral detergent fiber (NDF) was higher in the browse species during the wet compared to the dry season except for Sterculia africana and Ziziphus spina-christi. Similar trends were observed for acid detergent fiber (ADF) content except for Acacia asak. The condensed tannins content and the IVDMD of the browse species had inverse relationships in both seasons. The in sacco dry matter (DM) and nitrogen degradability parameters of the browse species were seasonally variable. Based on in sacco potential DM and nitrogen degradation of the browse species in both seasons, Acacia oerfota, Acacia tortilis, Balanites aegyptiaca, Boswellia papyrifera, Sterculia africana, Terminalia brownii and Ziziphus spina-christi were ranked to be superior in their nutritive value, and thus can have better use as animal feeds. Consequently, these browse species could be considered in agro-forestry systems for better integration of livestock production with available feed resources in semi-arid areas.


Browse species Animal feed Chemical composition In vitro digestibility In sacco degradability 


  1. AOAC (1990) Official methods of analysis of the association of official analytical chemists, 15th edn. Association of official analytical chemists, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  2. Aregawi T, Melaku S, Nigatu L (2008) Management and utilization of browse species as livestock feed in semi-arid district of North Ethiopia, vol 20, Article #86. Livestock Research for Rural Development. . Retrieved 12 Jun 2008
  3. Barry TN, Duncan SJ (1984) The role of condensed tannins in the nutritional value of Lotus pedunculatus for sheep. Voluntary intake. Br J Nutr 51:485–491CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Barry TN, Manley TR, Duncan SJ (1986) The role of condensed tannins in the nutritional value of Lotus pedunculatus. Sites of carbohydrate and protein digestion as influenced by dietary reactive tannin concentrations. Br J Nutr 56:123–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen XB (1995) Neway excel: an excel application program for processing feed degradability data. International Feed Resources Unit, Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, UKGoogle Scholar
  6. Cheng KJ, Stewart CS, Dinsdale D, Consterton JW (1984) Electron microscopy of bacteria involved in the digestion of plant cell walls. Anim Feed Sci Technol 10:93–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cufodontis G (1953–1972). Enumeratio plantarum aetiopiopiae. Spermatophyta. Bulletin de la Jardin Botanique de l’Etat des Bruselles, vols 23–42Google Scholar
  8. Dzowela BH, Hove L, Topps JH, Mafongoya PL (1995) Nutritional and anti-nutritional characters and rumen degradability of dry matter and nitrogen for some multipurpose tree species with potential for agroforestry in Zimbabwe. Anim Feed Sci Technol 55:207–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hedberg I, Edwards S (1989) Flora of ethiopia, vol 3. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa, EthiopiaGoogle Scholar
  10. Heneidy ST (1996) Palatability and nutritive value of some common plant species from the Aqaba gulf area of Sinai, Egypt. J Arid Environ 34:115–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kabuga JD, Darko CA (1993) In sacco degradation of dry matter and nitrogen in oven dried and fresh tropical grasses and some relationships to in vitro dry matter digestibility. Anim Feed Sci Technol 40:191–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kaitho RJ, Nsahlai IV, Williams BA, Umunna NN, Tamminga S, Van Bruchen J (1997) Relationship between preference, rumen degradation, gas production and chemical composition of browses. Agrofor Syst 39:129–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kibon A, ∅rskov ER (1993) The use of degradation characteristics of browse plants to predict intake and digestibility of goats. Anim Prod 57:247–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kumar R, Vaithiyanathan S (1990) Occurrence, nutritional significance and effect on animal productivity of tannins in tree leaves. Anim Feed Sci Technol 30:21–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Larbi A, Smith JW, Kurdi IO, Adekunle IO, Raji AM, Ladipo DO (1998) Chemical composition, rumen degradation and gas production characteristics of some fodder tree and shrubs during wet and dry season in the humid tropics. Anim Feed Sci Technol 72:81–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. McDonald P, Edwards RA, Greenhalgh JFD, Morgan CA (2002) Anim Nutr, 6th edn. Pearson Educational Limited, Edinburgh, Great BritainGoogle Scholar
  17. Melaku S, Peters KJ, Tegegne A (2003) In vitro and in situ evaluation of selected multipurpose trees, wheat bran and Lablab purpureus as potential feed supplements to tef (Eragrostis tef) straw. Anim Feed Sci Technol 108:159–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Norton BW (1982) Differences between species in forage quality. In: Proceedings of international symposium held at St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia, 24–28 Sep 1981. Nutritional Limits to Animal Production from PasturesGoogle Scholar
  19. Onwuka CFI, Akinsoyinu AOO, Tewe OO (1989) Feed value of some Nigerian browse plants: chemical composition and in vitro digestibility of leaves. E Afr Agric For J 54:157–163Google Scholar
  20. Ørskov ER, McDonald I (1979) The estimation of protein degradability in the rumen from incubation measurements weighted according to rate of passage. J Agri Sci (Camb) 88:645–650Google Scholar
  21. Reed JD, Horvath PJ, Allen MS, Van Soest PJ (1985) Gravimetric determination of soluble phenolics including tannins from leaves by precipitation with trivalent ytterbium. J Sci Food Agric 36:255–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Salawu MB, Acamovic T, Stewart CS, Ruthaert RL (1999) Composition and degradability of different fractions of Calliandra leaves, pods and seeds. Anim Feed Sci Technol 77:181–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. SAS (1998) SAS/STAT version 7. Guide to personal computers. Statistical analysis system institute Inc., NC, USAGoogle Scholar
  24. Shayo CM, Uden P (1999) Nutritional uniformity of neutral detergent solubles in some tropical browse leaf and pod diets. Anim Feed Sci Technol 82:63–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Siaw DEKA, Osuji PO, Nsahlai IV (1993) Evaluation of multipurpose tee germplasm: the use of gas production and rumen degradation characteristics. J Agri Sci (Camb) 120:319–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Singh GP, Oosting SJ (1992) A model for describing the energy value of straws. Indian Dairym XLIV:322–327Google Scholar
  27. Topps JH (1992) Potential, composition and use of legume shrubs and trees as fodder for livestock in the tropics (a review). J Agri Sci (Camb) 118:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Van Soest PJ (1994) Nutritional ecology of ruminants, 2nd edn. Cornell University Press, Ithaca and LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Van Soest PJ, Robertson JB (1985) Analysis of forage and fibrous foods. A laboratory manual for Animal science. 613 Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USAGoogle Scholar
  30. Waghorn GC, Shelton ID, McNabb WC, McCutcheon SN (1994) Effects of condensed tannins in Lotus pedunculatus on its nutritive value for sheep. 2. Nitrogenous aspects. J Agric Sci (Camb) 123:109–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Yayneshet T, Eik LO, Moe SR (2009) Seasonal variations in the chemical composition and dry matter degradability of exclosure forages in the semi-arid region of Northern Ethiopia. Anim Feed Sci Technol 148:12–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Yilma L (1999) Agro ecological zone of Tigray. Land use planning division of Tigray Bureau of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BoANR)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Solomon Melaku
    • 1
    Email author
  • Teferi Aregawi
    • 2
  • Lisanework Nigatu
    • 1
  1. 1.Haramaya UniversityDire-DawaEthiopia
  2. 2.Mekelle Agricultural Research CenterMekelleEthiopia

Personalised recommendations