EVALUATION OF NUTRITIVE VALUE OF SOME NATIVE FORAGE SPECIES IN TIKUR INCINNI DISTRICT, OROMIA, ETHIOPIA
GETE ZEWUDU AND GEMEDO DALLE,*
Ambo University, Ethiopia
Center for Environmental Science, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
*(e-mail : email@example.com)
(Received : 20 September 2019; Accepted 29 September 2019)
Conservation and sustainable use of forage species is important for increasing livestock productivity and ensuring food security in mixed crop-livestock production systems of smallholder farmers. This study was conducted to evaluate nutritive values of selected grass and forbs in Tikur Inchini District West Shoa Zone, Oromia, Ethiopia. Ten selected herbaceous species were identified by knowledgeable local farmers. Sample of the selected species were collected at 50% flowering, full flowering and post flowering stages and their nutritive values were analyzed at Holeta Research Center, Animal Nutrition Laboratory following established procedures. Semi-structured questionnaire was prepared and perceptions of farmers were documented. The data were analyzed using excel spreadsheet, and SPSS version 20. Mean CP of forbs (7.68%) was higher than that of grasses (6.58%). On the other hand, mean NDF and ADF content were higher in grasses (65.04 and 49.03%, respectively) compared with the contents in forbs (62.13 and 45.41%, respectively). The result showed that there was significant difference (p<0.05) between the grass and forb species. The low CP content in the study area could be due to continued rangeland degradation as a result of overgrazing. It was noted that there was positive correlation between the indigenous knowledge of farmers and laboratory results on nutritive value of some forage species. Farmers perceived that highly desirable forage species such as Sporobolus affinis, Satureja punctata, and Cynodon spp were threatened due to expansion of crop land and overstocking. Conservation and sustainable use of forage species, rangeland rehabilitation, improving livestock management to minimize overgrazing and increasing options for feed availability from diverse sources were recommended as a result of this study.
Key words:Forage species, forbs, grass, perception