Tropical Grasslands (2006) Volume 40, 70–78

Animal production potential of some new Leucaena accessions in the Markham Valley, Papua New Guinea

K.K. GALGAL1, H.M. SHELTON2, B.F. MULLEN2 AND R.C. GUTTERIDGE2

1PO Box 407, Eriku, 412 Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea
2School of Land and Food Sciences & School of Animal Studies, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia

Abstract

Signal grass pastures were oversown with four Leucaena spp. planted in hedgerows and evaluated for their agronomic productivity and ability to support steer liveweight gains. Each Leucaena sp. (L. leucocephala, L. pallida, L. collinsii, L. trichandra) was planted as seedlings into two 1 ha paddocks in rows 5 m apart, with 1 m spacing between trees. Cattle were rotationally grazed on the 2 replicates of each species, as well as on two 1 ha paddocks of a signal grass only (Brachiaria decumbens) control, over a 243-day period at a stocking rate of 3 steers/ha.
Mean presentation yield and herbage allowance of the Leucaena accessions over the grazing period were highest for L. pallida (1100 kg/ha and 0.8 kg DM/kg LW, respectively), followed by L. leucocephala (700 kg/ha and 0.5 kg DM/kg LW), L. collinsii (700 kg/ha and 0.4 kg DM/kg LW) and L. trichandra (300 kg/ha and 0.2 kg DM/kg LW).
Despite only moderate presentation yields and herbage allowances, steers grazing L. leucocephala and L. collinsii accessions produced the highest mean liveweight gains (LWG) of 0.65 and 0.56 kg/hd/d, respectively. While L. pallida produced the highest DM yields, it supported the lowest LWG of 0.36 kg/hd/d. The mean LWGs of steers grazing L. trichandra and the control (grass only) treatments were similar at 0.48 kg/hd/d. The possible reasons for the differences in steer performance on the different Leucaena accessions are discussed.

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