Yield and nutritive value of three fodder legume species as influenced by the frequency of defoliation. (337)
Keywords:Gliricidia, Erythrina, Leucaena, Tree legume, Cutting frequency, Nutritive value, Yield
AbstractThe effect of three frequencies of defoliation (8, 12, and 16 weeks) on the yield and quality of Gliricidia sepium, Erythrina indica, and Leucaena leucocephala were investigated. Total dry matter (DM) yields of G. sepium, L. leucocephala, and E. indica increased significantly with longer intervals of defoliation. In spite of declining edible portion as a percentage of fresh yield with increasing maturity, the edible DM yields (EDMY) also increased, especially in G. sepium and L. leucocephala due to greater increase in total DM yields. When the EDMY were considered, G. sepium performed equally as well as L. leucocephala. Edible crude protein and digestible DM yields were positively related to EDMY and G. sepium performed best among the three species. Considering the most important yield and quality criteria, the best species was G. sepium when defoliated at 16 weeks. In order to reduce the wastage of forages and to obtain maximum yield and nutritive value of these three legumes, the species characteristics have to be considered together with the frequency of defoliations.