Evaluation of the feeding value of Dichrostachys cinerea pods for fattening pigs in Cuba
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.
KeywordsDichrostachys cinerea In vivo digestibility In vitro digestibility Growth trial Pig Cuba
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