Potential of Leucaena spp. as a feed resource for ruminant animals in Thailand

G. Nakamanee, S. Harrison, K. Janthibordee, W. Srisomporn, C. Phaikaew

Abstract


Keynote paper presented at the International Leucaena Conference, 1‒3 November 2018, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

While Leucaena leucocephala grows wild in Thailand, some Leucaena spp. have been introduced and evaluated for their edible forage yield and quality. Experiments on appropriate management were performed in different environments and productivity was found to be affected by species or cultivar. Environmental conditions, plant spacing, age of plant and cutting height significantly affected growth and performance. Edible forage yield was in the range of 5‒6 t DM/ha/yr. Most species and cultivars contain high protein concentrations and are suitable for use as feed supplements as well as total ration for livestock. The effects of leucaena feeding on livestock are shown in lower mortality and increased productivity. While the leaf meal processing of leucaena for livestock feeding is increasingly recognized and practiced, cultivation of this crop is still minimal and insignificant. The role and importance of leucaena for livestock production, as well as its nutritional quality and factors which limit its use, are reviewed. The need for increased cultivation and integration of leucaena into local farming systems is emphasized. There is an urgent need to increase research support for the efficient cultivation of leucaena and an education campaign to dispel concerns about toxicity aspects.



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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17138/tgft(7)449-454

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