Yield and nutritive value of herbaceous and browse forage legumes in the Borgou region of Benin uri icon


  • Four herbaceous (Aeschynomene histrix, Stylosan-thes fruticosa, Centrosema pubescens and Mucuna pruriens var. utilis) and 2 browse forage legumes (Cajanus cajan and Leucaena leucocephala) were tested in a complete randomised block design (4 replicates) on infertile soils in the Borgou region of Benin over 3 consecutive rainy seasons (2000-2002). Leaf and stem production were measured as well as crude protein, crude bre, ash and mineral concentrations in leaves. The number of original plants surviving declined in all species except leucaena as the study progressed. Browse legumes produced more leaf material (including stems < 5 mm in diameter; mean of 4450 kg/ha DM) (P < 0.05) than herbaceous legumes (mean of 2370 kg/ha). While leaf production of leucaena increased with time, that of the remaining species declined as the study progressed. The lowest production (P < 0.05) was recorded for M. pruriens (1480 kg/ha DM). Leaf:stem ratio for the browse legumes (0.35-0.49:1) was lower (P < 0.05) than for the herbaceous legumes (0.87-1.10:1). Leaf material for all species was an acceptable source of crude protein (16-28% DM) to complement available forage on natural pastures and savannahs, especially during the dry season. However, concen trations of sodium and zinc in the material were below recommended levels for ruminant feeding

publication date

  • 2008