Livestock Research for Rural Development 31 (9) 2019 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

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Feed intake, rumen fermentation, digestibility and live weight gain of male Bali cattle (Bos javanicus) fed different mixtures of Gliricidia sepium and Leucaena leucocephala

Dahlanuddin, O Yanuarianto, Taufik Fauzi1, Penny J Back2, Rebecca Hickson2, S T Morris2, W E Pomroy2, Janet I Reid2 and C W N Anderson2

Faculty of Animal Science University of Mataram, Jl. Majapahit 62 Mataram 83125, Lombok, NTB, Indonesia
1 Faculty of Agriculture, University of Mataram, Mataram 83125, Indonesia
2 School of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston North, New Zealand


Leucaena based cattle fattening system has been widely adopted by farmers in Sumbawa island Indonesia. Farmers mostly fatten cattle with leucaena as the sole diet so the number of cattle fattened in the dry season declines with availability of leucaena. Despite its widespread use as living fences, Gliricidia sepium,, on the other hand, has not been optimally utilized to feed cattle due to its low palatability. In this experiment, gliricidia was mixed with leucaena at increasing level to improve its intake. The objective of this experiment was to investigate the effect of replacing leucaena in the diet on feed intake and live weight gain of male Bali cattle. Twenty male Bali cattle at approximately 12 months of age and initial live weight of 121±10.9 kg were divided into four groups and fed ad libitum one of the following diets: 100% Leucaena, 85% leucaena and 15% gliricidia, 70% leucaena and 30% gliricidia and 55% leucaena and 45% gliricidia . All diets were supplemented with rice bran 5g/kg LW and minerals x at 3% of the rice bran. There were no differences among diets in DM feed intake: 2.6 – 2.9% of LW, organic matter digestibility 54.3 – 63.6% and live weight gains 0.43 – 0.54 kg/d. Replacing up to 45% leucaena with gliricidia did not reduce feed intake, digestibility and live weight gain of male Bali cattle.

Keywords: foliage, trees, rice bran


Gliricidia (Gliricidia sepium) is abundant in West Nusa Tenggara and other areas of Indonesia. It was initially established in Indonesia as part of an agroforestry program and later used as a high protein ruminant feed (Nitis et al 1991). However, currently it is not used extensively to feed cattle due to its low palatability. There have been mixed results on the performance of fattening cattle fed gliricidia. Dahlanuddin et al (2014) reported a very low intake of male Bali cattle ( Bos javanicus) fed gliricidia hay and thus they did not grow (0.01 kg/d), while those fed leucaena or sesbania (Sesbania grandiflora) hays had a higher feed intake and grew at faster rate (0.47 and 0.43 kg/day respectively). Marsetyo et al (2012) on the other hand, reported a moderate growth rate (0.27 kg/day) of male Bali cattle fed fresh gliricidia.

While it has high crude protein (CP 18-30% in DM) and in vitro digestibility (60-65%) (Cook et al 2005), gliricidia has secondary compounds that reduces its palatability. Takemura et al (2013) reported that coumarin is the predominant phenolic compound in gliricidia and Wina et al (1998) suggested that coumarin makes the gliricidia have an unpleasnt odor and as a result, has low palatability as a ruminant feed.

Leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) on the other hand has been widely used by farmers due to high protein content, high palatability and hence resulted in high cattle growth rate (Dahlanuddin et al 2017). Leucaena has been used as very high proportion of the diet and even as a single diet, as the high palatability of leucaena can be used to mix it with gliricidia to improve cattle growth rate. There is no information available on what is the optimum ratio of leucaena and gliricidia that give good feed intake and live weight gain of male Bali cattle.

As part of the Massey University and University of Mataram Innovative Farm Systems and Capability in Agribusiness (IFSCA) project, a feeding trial was therefore carried out to evaluate the effect of mixing gliricidia with leucaena on feed intake and growth rate of weaned male Bali cattle. The objective of this feeding trial was to determine the optimum ratio between leucaena and glicidia as the main component of diet for cattle fattening. It was carried out to also demonstrate to farmers the use of lucaena and gliricidia for cattle fattening and its impact on live weight gain and profitability. Outcome of this experiment is expected to be a guideline for farmers in Dompu in utilizing gliricidia, leucaena and other feeds for fattening.

Materials and methods

The experiment was conducted at Mada Lemba farmer group Dompu (08°29'59.7"S, 118°25'57.2"E), West Nusa Tenggara Province of Indonesia from 7 April to 18 August 2018. Twenty male Bali cattle at approximately 12 months of age and initial live weight (LW) of 121±10.9 kg were used. They were ranked based on body weight and then individuals from the same body weight group were allocated randomly into 4 treatment groups. Each of these four groups were fed one of the following diet:

GS0: 100% leucaena ad lib

GS15: 85% leucaena and 15% gliricidia

GS30: 70% leucaena and 30% gliricidia

GS45: 55% leucaena and 45% gliricidia

All diets were supplemented with 5g DM rice bran/kg LW/day and mineral mix at 3% of the rice bran.

Leucaena leucocephala and gliricidia were collected daily from various places (living fences or forest areas) around Dompu district. Rice bran was collected from a nearby rice huller. The nutrient compositions of these feeds are presented in Table 1.

Table 1. Compositions of Leucaena leucocephala, Gliricidia sepium and rice bran used
in this experiment (% in DM), analysed according to AOAC (2005)

Crude protein

Crude fibre

Extract ether

Leucaena leucocephala




Gliricidia sepium




Rice bran




All animals were housed in individual pens (1x2 m) within a 6x14 m barn. Each pen was equipped with individual feed trough. Clean drinking water was provided ad libitum using a large bucket placed in each pen. Leucaena and gliricidia were chopped (2 – 5 cm in length) by a chopping machine.

Feeds were provided ad libitum (at around 20% in excess of previous day’s intake). During week 14 a total collection of feeds, refusals and feces was conducted to determine feed digestibility. At the total collection period, rumen fluid samples were collected by a stomach tube method (Figure 1). The stomach tube is attached to a metal filter that can minimize the saliva entering the collection syringe. Live weight was measured weekly to determine average daily gain (ADG).

Figure 1. Stomach tube connected to metal filter and a 60 ml catheter tip syringe to collect rumen fluid

Concentrated sulfuric was added to the rumen fluid to drop the pH to 3.0 or lower, and then kept in freezer for determination of rumen ammonia (NH 3) and volatile fatty acids (VFA) concentration. Concentration of NH3 was analysed by the method described by Channey and Marbach (1961), while VFA were analysed following the method described by Filípek and Dvořák (2009).

Variables measured include feed intake, feed digestibility (DM and OM), rumen ammonia and VFA concentrations and live weight gain. Data were analysed by Randomized Completely Block Design using SAS (2001).

Results and discussion

Feed intake

Feed intake did not differ with increasing level of gliricidia in the diet. The intake of dry matter in all treatments was in the range of 2.6 – 2.9% of LW (Table 2) which is higher than the DMI recorded in previous experiments with similar class of cattle (Marsetyo et al 2012; Dahlanuddin et al 2014). The mixing of gliricidia and leucaena (plus rice bran) successfully reduced the unpleasant odor of the gliricidia. The different results on intake of gliricidia in previous studies may have been due to plant age and cutting frequency (Wina et al 1998). The gliricidia used in this experiment had been harvested frequently and probably had low coumarin content.

Table 2. Mean values for DM intake, DM and OM digestibility, rumen ammonia, VFA and LW gain
of male Bali cattle fed increasing proportions of glirididia foliage replacing leucaena

Dietary treatments






DMI, % LW/day






OMI, % LW/day






DMD, %






OMD, %






NH3N, mg/L































LWG, kg/d






Rumen ammonia and VFA concentrations

Rumen ammonia concentrations in all treatments were all above the minimum required level of 50 mg NH3-N/L (Satter and Slyter 1974) but lower than 200 mg NH3-N/L (Preston and Leng 1987) recorded on straw-based diet. This is because of the high crude protein level of both leucaena (23%) and Gliricidia (19%) used in this experiment. The rumen ammonia levels recorded in this study were similar to the data previously reported (Dahlanuddin et al2014; Soares et al 2018) in Bali cattle fed tree legume diets.

VFA concentrations were at the lower end of the normal range of 70 – 150 mmol/L (McDonald 2011). It appeared that these diets needed more soluble carbohydrate to utilize high nitrogen content from the tree legumes.


As expected, the digestibility (DM and OM) was high as a result of sufficient nitrogen from the tree legumes, and sufficient concentration of VFA in the rumen. All minerals were covered from the mineral mix supplement.

The organic matter digestibility was higher in the animals fed leucaena. The digestibility tended to decline with addition of gliricidia in the diet. However, in all treatments the digestibility in all treatments was higher than previously reported for similar animals fed leucaena hay (50.6% OMD; Dahlanuddin et al 2014) or fresh leucaena (60.6% OMD; Soares et al 2018), probably due to the addition of rice bran and mineral mix in this experiment.

Live weight gain

Live weight gain was not affected by the increasing levels of gliricidia in the diets (0.43 – 0.54 kg/day) and was higher than the 0.4 kg/day recorded in a three-year monitoring of cattle fattening in Sumbawa where Leucaena was used as the main or the sole component of the diet. Farmers have to reduce the number of cattle fattened in the dry season as the availability of the leucaena declines (Panjaitan et al 2014). Therefore, mixing the leucaena with gliricidia,as proven to be effective in this experiment, will extend the use of leucaena into the dry season. This will enable farmers to feed more cattle or at least enable them to feed similar number of cattle in both wet and dry season.


Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


This feeding trial was carried out as an activity of the New Zealand Aid funded Innovative Farming Systems and Capability in Agribusiness (FSCA) project, a collaboration between Massey University New Zealand and University of Mataram Indonesia.


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Received 22 July 2019; Accepted 9 August 2019; Published 1 September 2019

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