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Abstract

In Puerto Rico, tropical grasses do not adequately meet the nutritional requirements of dairy cows. For this reason, imports alfalfa hay and costly concentrate based diets are used in the dairy industry. It has been widely documented that legumes are generally higher in nutritive value than grasses, but information on forage intake and nutritive value of the annual legumes forage soybean Hinson Long-Juvenile (HLJ) (Gyicine max) and lablab cv. Rongai [Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet] is limited. The research objective was to compare daily intake, and dry matter, crude protein (CP), and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) digestibility of 'HLJ' and 'Rongai' hay when fed to mature lambs. The experiment was conducted at the University of Puerto Rico, Finca Alzamora using rams (28.4±4 kg BW) in a completely randomized design with three replicates. Rams were housed in individual cages and fed treatment diets for a 7d adaptation period and 5d of data collection. Higher voluntary feed intake (P<0.05) was observed by rams fed 'HLJ' than Rongai (0.944 vs. 0.852 kg/d). Crude protein and NDF concentration were 15.7 and 15.5% and 42.8, and 41.7% for HLJ and Rongai, respectively. CP and NDF digestibility of HLJ and Rongai did not differ (P>0.05). But DM Digestibility (56.2 vs. 49.6%) was higher (P<0.05) in HLJ than Rongai. Both HLJ and Rongai exhibit potential for use in hay conservation systems to improve the feeding value of diet basal on grass hay and minimize concentrate use in dairy cows.

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