Contribution of Erythrina protein banks and rejected bananas for improving cattle production in the humid tropics
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Ibrahim, M.A.; Holmann, F.; Hernandez, M.; Camero, A. 2004. Contribution of Erythrina protein banks and rejected bananas for improving cattle production in the humid tropics. Agroforestry Systems. 49:245-254.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/945
In view of the low pasture productivity in the Central American humid tropics where cattle rearing is a major land-use activity, it is important to examine the potential of alternate feed sources for ruminant feeding. Erythrina berteroana Uban, locally known as poro, and green banana (Musa AAA) fruits have been identified as two such potential sources. The effects of feeding poro as a grazing supplement and diet supplementation with green banana fruits on cattle productivity were evaluated in a long-term trial in Costa Rica. Daily liveweight (LW) gains were measured and samples of all feed material were analyzed for crude protein and in vitro dry matter (DM) digestibility. Pasture availability was high, averaging 0.17 t DM ha day–1 over the grazing period. The main grass species were Paspalum fasciculatium Poiret, Axonopus compressus Swartz and to a lesser extent African star grass (Cynodon nlemfluensis Vanderyst). DM yields of poro declined significantly with time (> 50%) when it was managed with a two-month resting period but remained higher when subsequently managed with a three-month resting period. Average daily LW gain of animals was 21% to 26% higher with two hours daily browsing of poro than for animals only grazing pasture. Highest liveweight gain was achieved when diets were supplemented with banana and there was no additional benefit when poro was fed in addition to banana. This suggests that fodder banks of poro or supplements with green banana can improve cattle nutrition in the humid tropics.