The chemical composition and in vitro digestibility evaluation of almond tree (Prunus dulcis D. A. Webb syn. Prunus amygdalus; var. Shokoufeh) leaves versus hulls and green versus dry leaves as feed for ruminants

Elahi, M.Y.; Kargar, H.; Dindarlou, M.S.; Kholif, A.E.; Elghandour, M.M. Y.; Rojas-Hernandez, S.; Odongo, N.E.; Salem, A.Z. M.

Agroforestry Systems 91(4): 773-780

2017


ISSN/ISBN: 0167-4366
DOI: 10.1007/s10457-016-9964-5
Accession: 066338153

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Abstract
The current study aimed to evaluate the chemical composition and in vitro digestibility of almond tree (Prunus dulcis D. A. Webb syn. Prunus amygdalus; var. Shokoufeh) leaves versus hulls, and green versus dry leaves as feed for ruminants. The fresh green almond hulls (GAH) and leaves (GAL) were harvested and spread under a shade to dry. Dry almond leaves (DAL) were collected from under the trees where as dry almond hulls (DAH) were collected 4 weeks after harvesting the fresh samples. The chemical composition of substrates was determined using standard approaches and the metabolisable energy (ME), in vitro dry matter (DMD) and in vitro organic matter (OMD) digestibility were measured using the in vitro gas production (GP) technique. The GAL contained 81 g crude protein (CP) kg(-1) DM while DAH contained 103 g CP kg(-1) DM. The CP was higher (P = 0.0003) in dry (leaves and hulls) than in green (leaves and hulls) samples. The ash content ranged from 99.2 to 181.5 g kg(-1) DM in DAH and DAL, respectively, (P = 0.0041). The ether extract content ranged from 27 for DAH to 65 g kg(-1) for DAL (P = 0.0018). The acid detergent fibre and neutral detergent fibre content ranged from 185 to 304 and 444 to 620 g kg(-1) DM (P = 0.04), for GAL and DAH, respectively. The DAH had the highest (P = 0.0001) GP(24) and GP(96). The DAH had the highest (P = 0.0001) potential GP (i.e., b), while the GP rate was highest for GAL and GAH (P = 0.034), ME was highest for DAH (P = 0.0001), and in vitro OMD was highest for DAH (P = 0.0001). The highest DMD (P = 0.0001) values were obtained with DAH followed by GAL, DAL and GAH, respectively. It can be concluded that almond hulls and leaves have a good nutritional potential to cover the maintenance nutrient requirements of small ruminants. Almond hulls and leaves can also be used as supplement to low quality mature pasture and/or crop residues. However, more studies are warranted to better characterize these feeds in in vivo animal feeding trials.