Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 1235–1242 | Cite as

Evaluation of the feeding value of Dichrostachys cinerea pods for fattening pigs in Cuba

  • N. Martín-Casas
  • M. Reinoso-Pérez
  • J.R. García-Díaz
  • H.H. Hansen
  • M.O. Nielsen
Regular Articles


Dichrostachys cinerea (L.) Wight & Arn. is a tropical leguminous shrub widely regarded as an invasive species in Cuba, after having invaded a significant proportion of its arable land during the past decades. Concurrently, smallholder pig producers are highly constrained by the scarcity of protein feeds. This study aimed to assess the feeding value of D. cinerea pod meal (DCPM) as an alternative protein supplement for pigs in Cuban smallholder production systems. An on-farm feeding trial was carried out with three groups (N = 10) of growing-fattening pigs over 60 days, where DCPM replaced 0, 15, and 30% in DM of a dietary commercial concentrate. Then, in an in vivo digestibility trial with eight growing pigs, apparent digestibilities of DCPM were determined for dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM) and crude protein (CP). Finally, in vitro digestibilities for OM (fecal and ileal) and CP (ileal) were determined. In the feeding trial, pig body weight gains were not affected by increased dietary substitution levels of concentrate for DCPM. Blood parameters, with a few exceptions, did not show significant differences among groups. Values for in vivo OM and CP digestibilities were 40.81 and 50.26%, and substantially higher than in vitro values. In conclusion, our results showed that at least 30% of DM in commercial concentrate could be substituted by DCPM without affecting pig growth performances under Cuban smallholder conditions. The low digestibility of DCPM is, however, not acceptable for intensive pig production systems. In vitro enzyme digestibility methods developed for commercial pig feeds are not suitable for DCPM without further calibration.


Dichrostachys cinerea In vivo digestibility In vitro digestibility Growth trial Pig Cuba 



Apparent digestibility


Alanine amino transferase


Body weight


Crude protein


Dry matter


Neutral detergent fiber


Organic matter



The authors would like to express their special gratitude towards Guillermo Hernández Navarro (Finca La Gran Señora), who offered the possibility to carry out this research at his farm. Special thanks also go to Leonel Lazo Pérez and Leopoldina Rodríguez Triana (Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, UCLV, Cuba), for their very useful contributions to the experiments. This study was partially financed by development and research funds from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Compliance with ethical standards

Statement of animal rights

All the experimental procedures involving the use of animals (growth trial and digestibility trial) were carried out in compliance with both the animal welfare regulations of the Cuban Institute of Veterinary Medicine and with the EU Directive for animal experiments (2010/63/EU) as an essential requirement for performing animal experiments under representation of the University of Copenhagen. Field work supervision on the compliance of such procedures has been carried out by the Coordinator of the Animal Production Group of the Central University “Marta Abreu” of Las Villas (Cuba).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Large Animal SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenFrederiksberg CDenmark
  2. 2.Facultad de Ciencias AgropecuariasUniversidad Central “Marta Abreu” de Las VillasSanta ClaraCuba

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