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2. Effect of water spinach and fresh cassava leaves on intake, digestibility and N retention in growing pigs.

Summary: The experiment was carried out from 5 September to 11 October 2004 at CelAgrid in Kandal village, Rolous Commune, Kandal steung district, Kandal province. During the trial, the temperature was about 27 ºC in the morning, 31 ºC in the middle of the day and 30 ºC in the evening. The daily dry matter (DM) allowance was calculated at 4% of the body weight. The broken rice was restricted to 2% (DM basis) of live weight, so as to stimulate the pigs to eat the forages. DL-methionine was included at the level of 0.3% (in DM). Fresh cassava leaves were harvested everyday at CelAgrid at the age of 5 months after planting.  Cassava leaves were removed from stems and petioles and were chopped into small pieces and offered immediately. Water spinach was chopped into small pieces and offered immediately at the same time as the fresh cassava leaves. There were three treatments, FC: Fresh cassava leaves, WS: Water spinach and WSFC: Mixture between fresh water spinach and fresh cassava leaves (50:50 DM basis). The experiment was done according to a 3*3 Latin Square arrangement of the 3 dietary treatments with 3 crossbred (Local x Large White or Duroc) young male pigs weighing on average 15.1 kg. The animals were housed in metabolism cages during the whole trial (36days). Each experimental period consisted of 12 days; 7 days to adapt to the diets followed by 5 days for collection of faeces, urine and feed refusals.

Abstract: The HCN content of the fresh cassava leaves was 508 mg/kg DM resulting in an intake of 9.4 mg HCN/kg live weight. During the entire trial the pigs were in a positive body weight balance and there were no symptoms of toxicity from feeding fresh cassava leaves. Total DM intake, digestibility of DM, OM , N and crude fiber, and N retention, were higher with fresh water spinach and the mixture between fresh water spinach and cassava leaves, as compared with fresh cassava leaves alone.

It is concluded that fresh cassava leaves can be fed at 41% of the diet DM with no apparent signs of toxicity; fresh water spinach is more palatable than cassava leaves as reflected in higher total DM intake and the proportion of the diet (47%) provided by the leaves.

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