Front Vet Sci. 2023 Aug 21;10:1198212. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2023.1198212. eCollection 2023.
INTRODUCTION: Developing a technology for fodder trees and shrubs tailored to farmers’ preferences is best done with their input, perceptions, and interests in mind.
OBJECTIVE: The research aimed to determine farmer preferences for indigenous legumes, fodder trees, and shrubs (ILFTS) and to examine the relationship between feed valuation and scientific parameters.
METHODS: A focus group discussion (FGD) was conducted with 10 farmers in each agroecological zone to determine the benchmarks for the preference ratings. The respondent farmers used the preference score sheet to rate all ILFTS on an individual basis. Twenty farmers with extensive experience in ILFTS took part in the preference score rating of each plant species in each agroecosystems. Dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), ash, crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), acid detergent lignin (ADL), metabolizable energy (ME) and condensed tannin (CT) content of the samples were determined. The standard two-stage in vitro Tilley and Terry method was used to measure the in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) and in vitro organic matter digestibility (IVOMD) of samples. Digestible organic matter in dry matter (DOMD) and ME values were estimated using standard models. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze the variation among the species in agroecosystems. Tukey HSD tests were used for mean separation.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS: Farmers evaluated the ILFTS using a variety of parameters, according to the study (feed value, growth rate, biomass output, compatibility, and multifunctionality). The farmers’ ILFTS preference score on the evaluation criteria differed considerably (p<0.05) with species in agroecosystems. The CP, ash, and ME values of ILFTS in the study were moderate to high although exhibited a wide variation among the species in agroecosystems. The CP content was above the minimum requirement (8%) to support the normal function of rumen microorganisms. Moreover, CP content exhibited a positive significant correlation with IVDMD, IVOMD, and DOMD, unlike CT and ADL which exhibited a negative significant correlation. Conversely, the DM, OM, CP, IVDMD, IVOMD, DOMD, and ME were shown a positive significant correlation with farmers’ feed value preference score, unlike the ADL and CT which exhibited a negative significant correlation.
CONCLUSIONS: Farmers’ indigenous knowledge of feed value is therefore relevant for judging the nutritive value of the ILFTS and could complement the scientific indicators.