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Palatability, in situ and in vitro nutritive value of dried sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia)



The current study was conducted to determine chemical composition, nutrient content and availability, metabolizable energy (ME) content and nutritive value of sainfoin hay for ruminants. Three ruminally cannulated Holstein cows were used for in situ and in vivo experiments, to determine rumen degradability and digestibility of sainfoin hay. Apparent total tract digestibility of nutrients was determined with feeding of sainfoin hay as the sole diet to achieve 10% more than maintenance energy requirements. Six Zandi ewes were used in the palatability experiment. Means for dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fibre (NDF), acid detergent fibre (ADF) and condensed tannins (CTs) of sainfoin hay were: 940·4 g/kg and 93·43, 12·13, 47·87, 43·33 and 2·13 g/kg DM, respectively. In situ effective degradability of CP and DM were 0·38 and 0·54 g/g with a ruminal outflow rate of 0·05/h, respectively. OM apparent digestibility was in the range of 0·592–0·689, respectively, for Tilley & Terry and total faecal collection assays. ME content of sainfoin hay, according to different methods (gas production, in vitro and in vivo determined digestible organic matter in dry matter (DOMD)) was in the range 6·87–10·11 MJ/kg DM. Metabolizable protein (MP) content was 483·4 g/kg CP. Sainfoin was more palatable than alfalfa for sheep. It was concluded that sainfoin has a potential use in ruminant rations, especially if environmental conditions are not suitable for alfalfa production.


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