Track 1-08

Description

Ruminant livestock production in Nigeria is based predominantly on native grassland (especially Panicum maximum); the nutritive value of the natural pasture varies drastically according to season (Ademosun.1992). Changes in nutritional status of these native plants result in very irregular growth and marked fluctuations in seasonal weights of farm animals. Consequently, it becomes imperative to source for alternative feed resources which are more efficient, economical and can be incorporated into ruminant’s diet with a view to reducing feed costs and hence, achieving a greater profit margin for the producer. Tithonia diversifolia is an herbaceous weed of field crops and is widely distributed in the humid and sub-humid tropical Africa. Tithonia diversifolia could be considered a higher ranking forage species considering its crude protein content that varies between 14.8 and 28.8% (Navarro and Rodriguez 1990), the average of this values compared favourably with the protein content of Gliricidia (14.7%) Leucaena (22.2%) and Peppiginna (21.4%) as reported by Rosales (1996). However, there is dearth of information on its use as ruminant feed in Nigeria.

Therefore, this study was designed to evaluate the dietary effect of substituting Panicum maximum with Tithonia diversifolia forage on performance of Yankasa sheep.

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Dietary Effect of Substituting Panicum maximum with Tithonia diversifolia Forage on Performance of Yankasa Sheep

Ruminant livestock production in Nigeria is based predominantly on native grassland (especially Panicum maximum); the nutritive value of the natural pasture varies drastically according to season (Ademosun.1992). Changes in nutritional status of these native plants result in very irregular growth and marked fluctuations in seasonal weights of farm animals. Consequently, it becomes imperative to source for alternative feed resources which are more efficient, economical and can be incorporated into ruminant’s diet with a view to reducing feed costs and hence, achieving a greater profit margin for the producer. Tithonia diversifolia is an herbaceous weed of field crops and is widely distributed in the humid and sub-humid tropical Africa. Tithonia diversifolia could be considered a higher ranking forage species considering its crude protein content that varies between 14.8 and 28.8% (Navarro and Rodriguez 1990), the average of this values compared favourably with the protein content of Gliricidia (14.7%) Leucaena (22.2%) and Peppiginna (21.4%) as reported by Rosales (1996). However, there is dearth of information on its use as ruminant feed in Nigeria.

Therefore, this study was designed to evaluate the dietary effect of substituting Panicum maximum with Tithonia diversifolia forage on performance of Yankasa sheep.