The value of Acacia saligna as a source of feed for sheep
Delwyn Howard1, Gaye L. Krebs1 and Maarten Van Houtert2
(1) Muresk Institute of Agriculture, Curtin University of Technology, Northam, Western Australia 6401
(2) Department of Agriculture, Bunbury, Western Australia 6230
Two pen trials were undertaken to evaluate the usefulness of Acacia saligna as a source of feed for sheep. In Trial 1, A. saligna was inadequate as the sole source of nutrients for sheep, weight loss being visually evident. Further, the level of detannification achieved in Trial 1, with the addition of polyethylene glycol (PEG), failed to improve the diet sufficiently.
Trial 2 investigated A. saligna as the basal source of nutrients together with straw, with or without a supplement of nitrogen in the form of urea or PEG. Sheep supplemented with PEG consumed more A. saligna than either the control group or those supplemented with urea (P<0.05). All sheep readily consumed the A. saligna in preference to straw. The consumption of straw did not differ (P>0.05) among treatment groups, all animals consuming less than 25% of the straw offered. Both the dry matter digestibility and organic matter digestibility were higher (P<0.05) where PEG was included in the diet compared to the other two treatments. For all treatments, the animals maintained body weight.