Trees as Protein Sources
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CTA. 1991. Trees as Protein Sources. Spore 32. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45466
Trees with high-protein Ieaves are proving to be a valuable and practical feed resource for cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs in several Caribbean countries. In many instances one or more of a range of nitrogen-fixing species are grown to complement...
Trees with high-protein Ieaves are proving to be a valuable and practical feed resource for cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs in several Caribbean countries. In many instances one or more of a range of nitrogen-fixing species are grown to complement high energy diets based on chopped sugar cane or cane Juice. The trees and the cane have been shown to provide locally available, economical balanced rations for ruminants and pigs, and to offer ecological benefits: both crops can remain in the ground for long periods, being ratooned and coppiced respectively and do not require much, if any, disturbance of the soil. The soil conservation benefit is enhanced by the deep-rooting trees drawing nutrients and moisture from previously untapped soil profiles. in Jamaica, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Developrnent Institute (CARDI) has demonstrated several alternative ways of utilising leucaena and gliricidia for supplementary cattle at pasture. Foliage can be stall-fed or lopped straight on to the ground in pasture where the branches are picked dean. This is particularly useful as a dry season protein reserve. Alternatively, branches may be cut and stacked to dry on a suitable surface for two or three days. The leaves drop off and be swept up to provide a leaf protein concentrate which can be stored for future use. The leaf contains 25% crude protein, which can be mixed with cereals; a normal dairy ration contains 16% crude protein. The system is very simple and can be done on a lugs or small scale. One smallholder dairy farmer in Jamaica is growing leucaena and making leaf protein concentrate entirely by hand. Others are mechanizing the process. In Trinidad, the Sugar Feed Centre (SFC) has developed feeding systems where leaf protein from coppiced Leuceaena leucocephala and Acacia mangium supplements chopped cane fed to growing calves and dairy animals. In Colombia, however, the preferred tree species is Trichantera gigantea, known locally as Nacedero, a forage tree of this Acathaceae family originating in the Andes. It can grow at elevations of up to 2500 metres. The leaves are highly digestible and contain a low level of non-nutritional factors, with the result that they are readily acceptable to pigs. T. gigantea has a large leaf area, rapid regrowth and 16-20% crude protein. At 10,000 trees/ha the yield is 40-50 tonnes of fresh matter/ha. Dr T R Preston and a team at CIPAV in Colombia have developed a system for feeding pigs and hair sheep on sugar cane for energy end T. gigantea leaf for protein ( See Spore 31 page 12). The trees can be harvested for the first time eight months after planting and are then chopped every three months. This system is claimed to yield 3000kg of meat/ha/year.