Preliminary evaluation of potential fodder quality in a range of Leucaena species.
The potential as tropical fodder crops of 22 taxa and 5 interspecific hybrids of Leucaena was evaluated in Honduras. Crude protein, organic matter, acid detergent fibre, neutral detergent fibre, total tannin and condensed tannin (proanthocyanidin), and in vitro digestibility were estimated. The relative palatability of 13 of the taxa and 2 of the hybrids was also assessed in a "cafeteria" trial using fresh leaf material fed to sheep. Protein, digestibility and palatability estimates, together with previously published yield data, were used to construct 3 indices of fodder potential, to allow direct comparisons between taxa. The most promising taxa were Leucaena shannonii subsp. shannonii, Leucaena collinsii subsp. zacapana and Leucaena multicapitula, all of which achieved higher scores than the much better known Leucaena leucocephala subsp. glabrata. When yield and palatability were included in the indices, the very high palatability of L. leucocephala gave it the highest score overall. The least promising taxa were Leucaena pulverulenta, Leucaena trichandra, Leucaena esculenta (subsp. esculenta and subsp. matudae), and Leucaena greggii. From authors' summary. KEYWORDS: TROPAG | Leucaena | feed legumes | Leucaena | chemical composition | crude protein | digestibility | sheep | HONDU.