Analysis of the growth and nutritional characteristics of Lablab purpureus and evaluation of two digestibility techniques
The growth curve and nutritional characteristics of the tropical legume Lablab purpureus were determined to study its potential as a forage during the Honduran dry season. Using a completely randomised block design, dry matter yield and nutritional characteristics (protein, neutral detergent fibre, acid detergent fibre, acid detergent lignin, digestibility by gas volume determination and in vitro dry matter digestibility) were determined on a plant fraction (i.e. leaf, petiole, stem) basis. Despite the incidence of accidental flooding Lablab purpureus grew well. The protein and NDF content of the entire plant was 14%-20% and 38%-50%, respectively. The gas pressure technique gave a reasonable description of digestibility kinetics, but the in vitro technique proved to be the best means for obtaining a digestibility value (whole plant = 60.1%-67.5%). Results indicate Lablab purpureus has tremendous potential for use as a forage during the dry season. In addition to the Lablab study, the in situ dry matter digestibility and the gas production digestibility techniques were evaluated.