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Substitution of corn and soybean with green banana fruits and Gliricidia sepium forage in sheep fed hay-based diets: effects on intake, digestion and growth

Abstract : This study aimed to evaluate the substitution of imported corn and soybean by local feed resources from tropical production settings such as entire green banana and Gliricidia sepium forage as energy and protein sources, respectively, in sheep diets. Two experiments were conducted: first, a ‘growth trial’ and second, an in vivo digestion study. In the ‘growth trial’, 40 Martinik lambs [body weight (BW): 29.4 ± 3.6 kg; 6 months old) were used and distributed into four groups of 10 lambs each according to treatment: HBGl (banana + gliricidia at low level; 1500 g/day; 119 g/kg BW0.75), HBGh (banana + gliricidia at high level; 3000 g/day; 238 g/kg BW0.75), HBS (banana + soybean cake) and Control (corn + soybean cake). In digestion trial, four Martinik rams (BW: 57.2 ± 3.45 kg) fitted with ruminal and duodenal cannulae were used; treatments (HBG, HBS and Control) were similar but adjusted to metabolic body weight (MW) and just one level of gliricidia was used. Intake, average daily gain (ADG), feed intake to gain index (F:G), apparent total and ruminal digestibilities as well as nitrogen balance, microbial efficiency and volatile fatty acid (VFA) profile were monitored. Lambs fed HBGh had greater dry matter (DM) intake based on MW and ADG (173 g/day vs. 141 g/day; p < 0.001), whereas HBGl lambs showed the lowest ADG (71.5 g/day) and the worst F:G (14.4; p < 0.001). The DM, organic matter (OM), neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre digestibilities were not influenced by treatment, whereas crude protein digestibility was higher (p = 0.024) in diets offered banana or corn + soybean cake (687 g/kg DM and 658 g/kg DM, respectively). Ruminal DM and OM digestibilities did not differ among treatments. Total or individual VFA concentrations were also not influenced by the diet. Higher (p = 0.006) ruminal fluid pH values were recorded for diets combining banana and gliricidia (6.54) or banana and soybean (6.39) until 3 h after a meal. As all animals on gliricidia- and banana-supplemented diets gained weight and maintained a positive N balance, it is concluded that green banana and gliricidia forage may be a viable alternative to replace conventional energy and protein supplements in sheep diets.
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Harry Archimède, Eliel González García, Paul Despois, Tamara Etienne, Gisèle Alexandre. Substitution of corn and soybean with green banana fruits and Gliricidia sepium forage in sheep fed hay-based diets: effects on intake, digestion and growth. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, Wiley, 2010, 94 (1), pp.118-128. ⟨10.1111/j.1439-0396.2008.00891.x⟩. ⟨hal-02664860⟩

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