The Nutritive Value of Mulberry Leaves (Morus alba) and Partial Replacement of Cotton Seed in Rations on the Performance of Growing Vietnamese Cattle

  • Vu, Chi Cuong (Department of Animal Feed, Nutrition and Pasture, National Institute of Animal Sciences) ;
  • Verstegen, M.W.A. (Animal Nutrition Group, Department of Animal Sciences, Wageningen University) ;
  • Hendriks, W.H. (Animal Nutrition Group, Department of Animal Sciences, Wageningen University) ;
  • Pham, K.C. (Department of Animal Feed, Nutrition and Pasture, National Institute of Animal Sciences)
  • Received : 2009.06.08
  • Accepted : 2011.04.01
  • Published : 2011.09.01


The in vivo digestibility of mulberry leaves (Morus alba) and the effects of the partial replacement of cotton seed with fresh mulberry leaf in rations on the performance of growing Vietnamese cattle was investigated. For the in vivo digestibility trial, twenty castrated rams of Phanrang breed (a local prolific breed) with an initial weight of 23-25 kg, were first assigned to four groups according to weight and then randomly assigned to one of four dietary treatments to determine digestibility of nutrients in mulberry leaves (M. alba), natural Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) and buffalo grass (Panicum maximum cv. TD 58). All forages were cut and chopped daily before being offered (at 120% maintenance) to the sheep. In the feeding trial, 20 Laisind (Vietnam yellow cows${\times}$Red Sindhy bulls) crossbred bulls averaged 18 month old and 184 kg were used to investigate the effect of partial replacement of cottonseed in the diet by mulberry leaves on live weight gain and feed conversion rate. The experiment was a randomized complete block design with four levels of fresh mulberry leaves which varied from 0 to 15% of total dietary dry mater and five animals per treatment over an 84 day period. The in vivo digestion trial showed the superior quality of mulberry leaves compared with the grasses. Chemical analysis indicated that mulberry leaves had the highest CP and the lowest NDF contents (22.3 and 31.1% DM, respectively) among the four forages tested. Digestibility of DM and OM of the mulberry leaf (66.4 and 71.8%, respectively) was also the highest but that of CP (58.2%) and NDF (58.4%) was the lowest of the four forages evaluated (p<0.05). Consequently, the ME value and therefore net energy (NE) and unit feed for lactation (UFL) values of the mulberry leaves, which was estimated from chemical composition and digestibility values, were the highest among the forages investigated in the present study. Results of the feeding trial showed no treatment effect on average daily gain (ADG) of the cattle. The values were 554, 583, 565 and 568 g/d for animals in the diets of 0, 5, 10, and 15% mulberry leaves inclusion, respectively. Total DM intake of the animal was not affected by the treatment when expressed as kg/animal/d. However, when adjusted for metabolic weight of the animal the DM intake was reduced (p<0.05) as whole cottonseed was replaced by mulberry leaves in the ration. When the level of mulberry leaves in the ration increased from 5 to 15% of dietary DM at the expense of whole cottonseed, CP and ME intakes of the cattle were significantly decreased (p<0.05) and the feed to gain ratio reduced by 8 to 14% as compared with the control diet (p<0.05). Mulberry leaf is a good feed ingredient for ruminants because of its high level of crude protein and high digestibility of nutrients and energy. Mulberry leaves can be efficiently used as a source of protein supplement to replace cottonseed, a more expensive animal feeds ingredient, in the diet for Vietnamese cattle.



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