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Nutritive value of Sesbania aculeata grown on salty soil and its effect on reproductive parameters of Syrian Awassi ewes

M. Zarkawi A B , M. R. Al-Masri A and K. Khalifa A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Agriculture, Atomic Energy Commission, PO Box 6091, Damascus, Syria.

B Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 56(8) 819-825
Submitted: 6 December 2004  Accepted: 23 June 2005   Published: 25 August 2005


Nutritive value of Sesbania aculeata hay was determined by estimating the nutritive components, nitrogen forms, in vitro digestible organic matter (IVDOM), and metabolisable energy (ME). A study was carried out to evaluate the effect of feeding 2 groups of Syrian Awassi ewes with 2 wheat straw-concentrate diets without (control) or with (experimental) added S. aculeata hay on some reproductive parameters of the ewes at different stages. Half of the wheat straw in the daily ration of the experimental group of ewes was replaced by S. aculeata hay (whole plant) grown on salty soil and irrigated by saline water. Daily metabolisable energy and crude protein consumed by the ewes in the 2 groups were the same during the different stages (2.5 months before mating, throughout pregnancy, and during lactation). Crude fibre and cell wall constituents’ values were lower, whereas the values of crude protein and crude ash were higher in leaves and pods than in stalks. The values of IVDOM in S. aculeata hay were 537, 380, and 626 g/kg DM, and of ME were 7.19, 5.43, and 8.58 MJ/kg DM for the whole plant, stalks, and leaves and pods, respectively. The values of buffer soluble nitrogen were 27% or 39% and of buffer soluble non-protein nitrogen were 21% or 35% of the total nitrogen in leaves and pods or stalks, respectively. Feeding with S. aculeata hay had no effects on the liveweight of the ewes during the periods before mating and throughout pregnancy, on mating rate, fertility rate, duration of pregnancy, birth weight, or weaning weight of lambs. Furthermore, feeding with sesbania hay had no effect on either the response of ewes to the oestrous synchronisation programme or on the blood serum concentration and pattern of progesterone during the period extending from the commencement of feeding the ewes sesbania hay (2.5 months before mating) until the time of their lambing.

Additional keywords: nutrient, protein, energy, reproduction, progesterone, ewe.


The authors thank the Director General and Head of the Agriculture Department, Atomic Energy Commission of Syria, for their encouragement and financial support.


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