Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 44, Issue 7, pp 1375–1381 | Cite as

Assessment of Grewia oppositifolia leaves as crude protein supplement to low-quality forage diets of sheep

  • Nazir Ahmad KhanEmail author
  • Ghulam Habib
Original Research


In the tropical arid and semi-arid regions of many developing countries, sheep are predominantly grazed on low-quality pastures and stall-fed on crop residues. This study evaluated the potential of Grewia oppositifolia tree leaves as crude protein (CP) supplement to the low-quality diets of sheep in comparison with cottonseed cake (CSC). Changes in the chemical composition of the leaves with progressive maturation (December to March) were studied. The leaves maintained a high CP content (>164 g/kg dry matter (DM)) during the prolonged maturation in the winter feed scarcity period. The leaves were rich in Ca (41 g/kg DM) and K (89 g/kg DM). The rate of degradation and effective degradability of CP were consistently higher (P < 0.001) in CSC than in G. oppositifolia. A balance trial in a 4 × 4 Latin square design with four mature Ramghani wethers showed that DM intake, DM and CP digestibility, and N retention did not differ with the substitution of CSC with G. oppositifolia leaves, as a supplement to a basal diet of sorghum hay. Body weight (BW) gain and wool yield responses to the supplements were examined with 36 lambs (27 ± 3 kg BW; age 11 ± 1 months) for 15 weeks. The lambs were only grazed on local pasture (control group) or supplemented with CSC, G. oppositifolia leaves, and their mixture on iso-N basis. Addition of the supplements increased (P < 0.05) BW gain and wool yield, and the leaves were as effective as CSC. These results demonstrated that G. oppositifolia leaves provide good quality green fodder during the prolonged winter feed scarcity period, and that the leaves can be efficiently utilized as a CP supplement to the low-quality diets of sheep.


Grewia oppositifolia Tree leaves Sheep Rumen degradability N balance Weight gain 



The authors acknowledge the staff of the Livestock Experimental Station Jaba and the laboratory of Animal Nutrition Group of Agricultural University Peshawar for technical assistance. The research was conducted under the Agriculture Linkages Program financed by Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad. The authors are highly indebted to Dr. J. W. Cone and S. A. Khan for reading the manuscript and Dr. Ibrar ul Hussain for facilitating the experimental trials.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Animal Nutrition Group, Department of Animal SciencesWageningen UniversityWageningenthe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Animal NutritionAgricultural University PeshawarPeshawarPakistan

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