Effect of seasonal changes on the herbage composition of Stylosanthes hamata Taub cv. Verano and Centrosema pascuorum Mart. Ex. Benth in the Nigerian sub-humid zone
Keywords:Centrosema pascuorum, Crude protein, Herbage, Stylosanthes hamate, Mineral composition
The study conducted in the Nigerian sub-humid zone aimed to investigate the impact of seasonal changes on the crude protein and mineral composition of verano stylo and centro, two types of forages. Plant samples were collected from September in the establishment year (wet season) through July in the succeeding year (dry season) for analysis. The findings revealed that the herbage had the highest crude protein (CP) and mineral contents during the wet season compared to the dry season. Specifically, centro exhibited a more significant difference in CP content between seasons, being lower than that of verano during the dry season. Phosphorus (P) concentration showed no significant difference during the dry season, but Centro had considerably higher P levels during the rainy season. The study noted variability in micronutrient content in the forages across seasons. Crude protein, phosphorus, and copper were identified as the most limiting nutrients, particularly in the dry season, based on recommended critical level requirements. This implies that feed supplementation would be necessary to address these nutrient limitations and improve animal production in the zone, especially during the dry season. In summary, the study highlights the seasonal variations in herbage composition, emphasizing the importance of understanding nutrient content fluctuations for effective livestock management in the Nigerian sub-humid zone. It suggests that implementing feed supplementation strategies, particularly addressing the limitations in crude protein, phosphorus, and copper, could contribute to enhanced animal production, particularly during the dry season.
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