Tropical Grasslands (1985) Volume 19, 164–171

THE EFFECT OF CUTTING INTERVAL ON THE YIELD AND NUTRITIVE VALUE OF SOME TROPICAL LEGUMES ON THE COASTAL GRASSLAND OF GHANA

M.B. ADJEI1 and F.K. FIANU2

1Agricultural Research Station, P.O. Box 38 University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.
2Department of Animal Sciences, P.O. Box 68, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.

Abstract

The yield, persistence and nutritive value of eight tropical legumes cut at intervals of 60, 90, or 120 days were studied for one year to assess their value for standing hay on the Coastal Grassland of Ghana.
Aeschynomene americana and Cajanus cajan produced the highest dry matter yield averaged over the three cutting intervals of about 5 t ha-1 yr-1 and Clitoria ternatea the lowest yield of 2.6 t ha-1 yr -1. Under the harvesting regimes imposed, only siratro and centro showed acceptable persistence while Aeschynomene demonstrated excellent regeneration ability from self-sown seed even at 90 days of cutting.
Average leaf crude protein (CP) was highest for Aeschynomene and Clitoria (c.25%) and least for Stylosanthes humilis (15%) Macroptilium lathyroides, M. atropurpureum, Cajanus cajan, Stylosanthes humilis and Clitoria ternatea had a decreasing leaf CP content with increasing cutting interval from 60 to 120 days while Centrosema pubescens, Desmodium intortum and Aeschynomene americana recorded their highest leaf CP at 90 days.
Stem crude fibre (CF) levels were lowest for Clitoria (< 20%), c.23% for siratro and above 30% for the remaining legumes. Leaf CF levels, which averaged 25% over all legumes, were consistently lower than stem CF.
Significant variable response to cutting interval was exhibited by the legumes for ether extract nitrogen free extract, P and Ca levels.

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