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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Biomass production and nutrient content of three agroforestry tree species growing on an acid Anthropic Ferralsol under recurrent harvesting at different cutting heights

Mukangango, Marguerite; Nduwamungu, Jean; Naramabuye, Francois Xavier; Nyberg, Gert; Dahlin, A. Sigrun

Abstract

Agroforestry systems may alleviate challenges relating to soil degradation and low livestock production for smallholder farmers. Species-adjusted management regimes will determine how agroforestry fits in farming systems. Long-term productivity of biomass in agroforestry systems managed for fodder production requires tree species that coppice after repeated cutting. This study evaluated the effect of different cutting heights (0.3 and 1.0 m) and repeated harvests (1-5) on biomass production and chemical composition of the leguminous trees Acacia angustissima, Leucaena pallida and Mimosa scabrella in a field study on an Anthropic Ferralsol in Southern Rwanda. Shoot biomass production was highest at 0.3 m cutting height for A. angustissima and L. pallida, but M. scabrella could not survive that cutting height. Shoot biomass was highest for A. angustissima and lowest for M. scabrella, which did not adapt to repeated harvests. Leaf:stem ratio was not affected by cutting height. Cutting height did not affect crude protein (CP), but neutral detergent fibre (NDF), acid detergent fibre (ADF) and total polyphenol (TP) concentrations were higher at 1.0 m cutting height than at 0.3 m. Crude protein was highest in A. angustissima and lowest in M. scabrella, while NDF and ADF were highest in M. scabrella. Although all species provided high feed quality in terms of high CP content at both cutting heights, low cutting height (0.3 m) is recommended for A. angustissima and L. pallida for higher overall quality and biomass production.

Keywords

Legume trees; Cutting height; Repeat-harvesting; Biomass production; Chemical composition

Published in

Agroforestry Systems
2020, Volume: 94, pages: 857-867
Publisher: SPRINGER