International Journal of
Livestock Production

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Livest. Prod.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2448
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJLP
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 268

Article in Press

Establishing for the first time high-density protein banks for livestock feeding in Burkina Baso (West Africa): overall agronomic performance under contrasting edaphoclimatic conditions

González-García Eliel

This study aimed to evaluate, for the first time, the establishment of high-density protein banks (PBs) for livestock feeding in West Africa (Burkina Faso). During seven consecutive months of the first year of establishment (from June to January), we monitored the agronomic performance of two widely recognised woody fodder species (i.e. one leguminous: leucaena, Leucaena leucocephala; and one non-leguminous: mulberry, Morus alba), planted for intensive forage production in high-density PBs (20 000 plants per hectare). Three contrasted edaphoclimatic zones (PB1, PB2 and PB3), located in the west of Burkina Faso had been previously selected. Before planting, a nursery period was required in order to achieve plants with adequate quality to be further uniformly distributed among the study sites, which differed mainly in soil characteristics and rainfall pattern. After soil preparation using animal traction, PBs were planted at the start of the rainy season (June). Thereafter, a monthly monitoring frequency was established for plant height, stem diameter, branch number and branch length. Complementary information was also collected at each visit regarding e.g. pest and diseases and other events. In both species, a highly significant interaction (P < 0.001) between the experimental site and visit dates (month) was observed for all variables except branch number. Average plant heights (103 cm) were similar between fodder species but stem diameter (7.0 ± 0.38 cm) and branch length (54.6 ± 2.19 cm) were higher in mulberry compared to leucaena (5.6 ± 0.11 cm and 29.3 ± 0.98 cm, respectively). In contrast, the number of branches remained higher in leucaena (7.0 ± 0.20 vs. 2.0 ± 0.10 cm) throughout the experiment. No differences were observed in plant heights between experimental sites from the planting date (June) until the end of August. However, from September to October, both species displayed a stronger growth rate in PB1 when compared to the other two sites. Differences between experimental sites were due mainly to soil properties, but also to differences in rainfall pattern and frequency of termite attack. These results demonstrated the feasibility of establishing, with a low-input approach, high density PBs under the harsh conditions of Burkina Faso, a potential alternative to enhance farms’ forage autonomy for livestock keepers in the region.

Keywords: Forage crop, establishment, plant growth, trees and shrubs, rainfall pattern, soil, tropics, Western Africa