Energy supplements for leucaena
Keynote paper presented at the International Leucaena Conference, 1‒3 November 2018, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Leucaena can be fed as the sole diet to fattening cattle without nutritional problems and it will promote high liveweight gains. The high crude protein concentration in leucaena suggests that energy supplements, which are readily fermented in the rumen, could be used to capture the excess rumen degradable protein and provide more microbial protein and metabolizable energy to the animal, further increasing liveweight gain or milk production. This approach has been tested in grazing cattle and also in cut-and-carry systems in Australia and Indonesia. In both systems, production (liveweight gain or milk production) increased with the addition of supplements containing large amounts of fermentable meta-
bolizable energy. The substitution of the basal diet (leucaena or leucaena mixed with grass or crop residues) by the supplement also means that more animals can be carried in the system for a set amount or area of leucaena. The same principles would apply to any tree legume-based system. Energy supplements can come in many forms, viz. fermentable starch (cereal grains and cassava), sugars (molasses), pectins (soybean hulls and pulps) and fibre (rice bran, cassava bagasse), but they have not been compared for their efficacy nor for their economic benefit, if any, in these systems.