Dry matter (DM) production, crude protein (CP) content, in vitro digestibility (IVOMD). and an intake of DM, CP and metabolizable energy (ME) of leucaena forage with stem diameters up to 8, 12, 15 and >15 mm were evaluated to determine maximum twig size for inclusion in chopped leucaena for feeding goats. CP and IVOMD for 8 mm (177 and 490 g/kg DM, respectively) were about 15 per cent higher but forage DM yields (13.5 t/ha/yr) were 36 per cent lower than for the other stem sizes. Intake (per kg body weight) of DM, was similar across all stem diameters, but that of CP and ME for >15 mm (1.79 g and 70.8 kJ) was lower (P <0.05) than for 8 mm (2.40 g and 102.1 kJ). However, nutrient concentration and intake remained high up to 15 mm. It was concluded that chopping leucaena forage prior to feeding will permit the inclusion of twigs 15 mm in diameter (about twice the size of an ordinary pencil) without detracting from the nutrient intake of goats, while allowing for 20-40 per cent higher stocking rates.


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