Discipline: Natural Sciences
The effect of three drying methods: (1) sun-drying, (2) air-drying under a roof, and (3) oven-drying, on feed composition and digestibility of leaf meals from seven species of fodder trees and shrubs was determined during the dry and wet seasons. No significant difference was observed on the effect of the drying methods on crude protein content which ranges from 16.47% to 30.60%. Leaf meal of Moringa olifera ranked highest in crude protein content followed by Leucaena leucocephala, Desmodium rensonii, Samaneasaman, Flemingia macrophylla, Gliricidia sepium and Stylosanthes guianensis CIAT 184. Oven drying and air-drying under a roof resulted in significant increase (P<0.01) of NDF, ADF and lignin, thereby decreasing in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) and in vitro organic matter digestibility (IVOMD). In vitro dry matter and organic matter digestibility were ranked from highest (69.91%, 64.89%) to lowest (27.87%, 21.52%) as follows: Moringa olifera, Stylosanthes guianensis CIAT 184, Gliricidia sepium, Desmodium rensonii, Leucaena leucocephala, Samanea saman and Flemingia macrophylla. Significantly higher cell wall content (NDF, ADF, lignin) and lower digestibility (IVDMD, IVOMD) were observed during the dry season while no significant difference was observed with crude protein content during the dry and wet seasons.