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H.K. Juma, S.A. Abdulrazak, R.W. Muinga, M.K. Ambula
Effects of supplementing maize stover with clitoria, gliricidia and mucuna on performance of lactating jersey
cows in coastal lowland kenya
Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems, vol. 6, núm. 1, 2006, pp. 1-7,
Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán
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Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems, 2006 (6): 1-7
EFFECTS OF SUPPLEMENTING MAIZE STOVER WITH CLITORIA,
GLIRICIDIA AND MUCUNA ON PERFORMANCE OF LACTATING
JERSEY COWS IN COASTAL LOWLAND KENYA
[EFECTO DE LA SUPLEMENTACIÓN DE RASTROJO DE MAIZ CON
CLITORIA, GLIRICIDIA Y MUCUNA EN EL COMPORTAMIENTO DE
VACAS JERSEY LACTANTES EN KENIA]
H.K. Juma1, S.A. Abdulrazak1, R.W. Muinga2* and M.K. Ambula1
1Egerton University, P.O Box 536 Njoro, Kenya, E-mail: email@example.com
2KARI, Mtwapa, P.O. Box 16 Mtwapa, 80109 Kenya, Fax: 041 5486207,
A study was carried out at the Kenya Agricultural
Research Institute’s Mtwapa Centre to evaluate
Mucuna pruriens (Mucuna) and Clitoria ternatea
(Clitoria) as protein supplements based on the
performance of lactating Jersey cows offered maize
stover. Gliricidia, the recommended legume
supplement to grass based diets for dairy feeding in
coastal Kenya was used as the baseline for
comparison. Twelve Jersey cows in their mid-lactation
were divided into four groups balanced for initial live
weight and milk yield. One group was fed the control
diet, alone which consisted of maize stover ad libitum
plus three kilograms of maize bran daily. The
remaining three groups were fed the control diet
supplemented with eight kilograms of fresh Clitoria,
Gliricidia or Mucuna. Data was collected for seven
weeks after a seven-day adaptation period. Maize
stover had a lower crude protein concentration (5.2 %)
than the minimum requirement (7 %) for optimal
microbial activity in the rumen. Crude protein
concentrations of Gliricidia and Clitoria were higher
compared to that of Mucuna (23.2 and 21.8 vs. 18.0
%). Gliricidia had the highest concentration of tannins
(2.23%) which was however lower than the critical
level of 6 %. Nitrogen bound to neutral detergent fibre
(3.5 %) was also highest in Gliricidia. Supplementing
maize stover with any of the three legumes did not
affect the intake of the basal diet. It however resulted
in increased total dry and organic matter intakes.
Apparent dry and organic matter digestibilities were
improved by legume supplementation. Cows fed
Clitoria, Gliricidia and Mucuna yielded 15, 20 and 15
% more milk than those fed the control diet alone.
Milk yield, dry matter intake and apparent digestibility
were similar between the legumes.
Key words: legume supplementation, feed intake, diet
digestibility, milk yield, Jersey cows
El trabajo se llevó a cabo en el Centro experimental
Mtwapa del Instituto de Investigación Agrícola de
Kenya (KARI) para evaluar Mucuna pruriens
(Mucuna) y Clitoria ternatea (Clitoria) como
suplementos proteínicos para vacas Jersey lactantes
consumiendo rastrojo de maiz. Gliricidia es la
leguminosa recomendada en Kenya para suplementar
vacas lecheras alimentadas con dietas basadas en
pastos y fue empleada como tramiento de línea base
para comparación. Doce vacas Jersey a mitad de su
lactancia fueron divididas en cuatro grupos
balanceados por peso inicial y producción de leche. Un
grupo fue alimentado con la dieta control: rastrojo de
maíz ad libitum más tres kg de salvado de maíz. Los
tres grupos restantes fueron alimentados con ocho kg
base fresca de Clitoria, Gliricidia o Mucuna. Se
colectó información por siete semanas, después de
siete días de adaptación. El rastrojo de maíz tuvo una
concentración de proteína cruda (5.2 %) menor a las
necesidades mínimas para una actividad microbial
óptima a nivel ruminal (7 %). Las concentraciones de
proteína cruda de la Gliricidia y Clitoria fueron más
altas que las de Mucuna (23.2 y 21.8 vs. 18.0 %).
Gliricidia tuvo la mayor concentración de taninos
(2.23%). El nitrógeno ligado a la fibra detergente
neutra fue mayor en Gliricidia (3.5 %). La
suplementación del rastrojo de maíz con las
leguminosas no tuvo efecto sobre el consumo de la
dieta basal. Sin embargo, resultó en un mayor
consumo total de materia seca y materia orgánica. La
digestibilidad aparente de la materia seca y materia
orgánica fue mejorada por la suplementación con
leguminosas. Las vacas alimentadas con Clitoria,
Gliricidia y Mucuna tuvieron una producción de leche
15, 20 y 15 % mayor que aquellas alimentadas con la
dieta control. La producción de leche, el consumo y
digestibilidad de la material seca fueron similares para
todos los tratamientos con leguminosas.
Palabras clave: Suplementación, leguminosas,
consume, digestibilidad, producción leche.
Juma et al., 2006
There are commercial opportunities on marketing and
consumption of dairy products in coastal lowland
Kenya (Swallow, 1996). Unsatisfied demand calls for
increased milk production (66 % deficit). However,
feed quality and quantity are the major constraints to
dairy production in the region (Muinga et al., 1999).
Most dairy farmers rely on natural pastures from the
farm or cut and carried to the animals from roadsides
and fallow land off-farm. These pastures are of
variable quality and in cases of severe droughts may
not be available (Abdulrazak, 1995).
The other available option farmers have is to feed their
animals on crop residues. Maize stover is a common
crop residue in coastal Kenya. It is characterised by
low nitrogen (<3 % CP) and over 70 % NDF (Urio and
Kategile, 1987). As a result of this, addition of a
readily available source of nitrogen and/or energy is
essential to benefit its use as animal feed (Abdulrazak,
1995). The commercial protein sources are expensive
and alternatives such as leguminous forages are
Clitoria ternatea (Clitoria) and Mucuna pruriens
(Mucuna); two herbaceous legumes that have been
recommended for soil fertility improvement in coastal
Kenya (Saha et al., 1997); have a good potential as
protein supplements considering their high crude
protein content. This study was therefore conducted to
evaluate the effects of supplementing maize stover
with Clitoria and Mucuna in comparison with
Gliricidia; the recommended legume supplement for
roughage diets in dairy feeding; on feed intake, diet
digestibility and milk yield of lactating Jersey cows.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Experimental site and animals
This study was carried out at the Kenya Agricultural
Research Institute’s Mtwapa Centre, in coastal
lowland Kenya. The area has an average annual
rainfall of 1200 mm. Mean monthly minimum and
maximum temperatures are 220C and 300C
respectively. The relative humidity is high (>80%)
Jaetzold and Schmidt, (1983).
Twelve lactating Jersey cows in their mid lactation
(approximately 100 days in lactation) with an average
age and live weight of 7.2 years (±4) and 260 kg (±45)
respectively were selected from a dairy herd grazing
natural pastures. Their average daily milk yield was
4.8 kg (±2.1). The animals were weighed and then
grouped into four. The groups were balanced for initial
milk yield (4.8 kg) and body weight (260 kg). They
were housed in well-ventilated stalls with individual
feeding facilities. They were also sprayed weekly with
an acaricide against external parasites. All the animals
were dewormed at the start of the experiment to
control internal parasites. Blood samples were taken
every week from the jugular vein to screen for East
Coast fever (ECF) and trypanosomosis parasites.
Feeds and experimental diets
Maize stover was harvested from a coast composite
maize crop established at the Centre, and stored at the
beginning of the experiment. Gliricidia was cut back
and the two months regrowth used to feed the animals.
Clitoria and Mucuna were established at the onset of
the long rains and harvested after attaining 50 - 60%
flowering. Maize bran and mineral licks used in this
experiment were purchased in bulk from a local
The control treatment comprised of maize stover fed
ad libitum, plus 3 kg of maize bran and 70 g of dairy
mineral lick. The other three treatments consisted of
the control, plus 8 kg of fresh Clitoria, Gliricidia or
Mucuna (equivalent to approximately 2 kg DM).
Clean water was availed at all times.
Maize stover was chopped to about 40 mm before
feeding to the animals. Clitoria and Mucuna were
harvested at 10 cm from the ground and chopped to
about 20 mm pieces using a machete before feeding to
the animals. Leaves and tender twigs of approximately
5 mm diameter were separated from Gliricidia
branches and fed to the animals. The basal diet was
offered at 0800 h and added at 1400 h to ensure
availability at all times. The respective legumes, maize
bran and mineral lick were offered in two equal amounts
of 4 kg, 1.5 kg and 35 g respectively in the morning and
in the afternoon. The treatment diets were allocated
randomly to the four groups of animals.
Total daily faecal output per animal for the last two
weeks of the experiment was collected as it was
dropped and bulked in individual buckets before
weighing and recording. Samples were taken daily for
dry matter determination and ashing. These values
were used in the determination of apparent in vivo dry
and organic matter digestibilities as described by
In vitro gas production characteristics of the legumes
were determined according to the method of Menke
and Steingas (1988) as described by Abdulrazak and
Fujihara (1999). Gas volume (ml) was recorded after
3, 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, 72 and 96 hours of incubation. The
net gas volume was calculated by subtracting gas
production in the syringes with rumen fluid plus buffer
without sample from the gas volume recorded in tubes
containing samples. The net gas volume data were
fitted to the model p = a+b (1-e-ct) (Orskov and
Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems, 2006 (6): 1-7
The forages were sampled weekly throughout the
experimental period. These samples were then sub-
sampled for DM determination and chemical
composition analysis. At the end of the experiment the
samples were bulked per forage and a single sample
taken. Every batch of maize bran purchased was
sampled for DM and chemical composition
determination. DM, ash, nitrogen (N), Neutral and acid
detergent fibres (NDF and ADF), tannins and N bound
to NDF (NDF-N) contents were measured according to
procedures adapted by Abdulrazak and Fujihara
Data was collected for a period of seven weeks after a
seven-day adaptation period and stored in Ms Excel
files. It was subjected to analysis of variance
(ANOVA) using the General Linear Model (GLM)
procedures of Statistical Analysis Systems (SAS,
1997) and means separated using least significant
Animals remained healthy throughout the
experimental period. Chemical composition of the
feeds used in this experiment are presented in Table 1.
Crude protein (CP) concentration of Gliricidia and
Clitoria were higher compared to that of Mucuna (232
and 218 vs. 180 g kg-1 respectively). Clitoria and
Mucuna had higher neutral and acid detergent fibres
(NDF and ADF) levels compared to Gliricidia. The
highest concentration of NDF-N and tannins were
found in Gliricidia. Ash and organic matter (OM)
levels were similar for the three legumes. Maize stover
had a CP concentration of 52 g kg-1, NDF of 784 g kg-
and ADF of 481 g kg-1.
The results of net gas produced in vitro when samples
of Clitoria, Gliricidia and Mucuna were incubated with
rumen fluid are presented in Table 2. There were no
differences in rate and total gas production between
the three legumes.
Daily mean maize stover intake was on average 2.7 kg
DM. Cows fed the control diet ate insignificantly more
maize stover than those supplemented with the
legumes (Table 3). Cows consumed significantly
(P<0.05) less Mucuna than Gliricidia and Clitoria (1.8
vs. 2.1 kg). In effect cows fed on Gliricidia and
Clitoria consumed more supplementary CP than those
fed on Mucuna (0.49 and 0.45 vs. 0.32 kg
respectively). Animals fed on Maize stover alone
consumed 0.51 kg of CP, which was lower (P<0.05)
than the 0.98, 0.93 and 0.79 kg of CP recorded for
cows fed on Gliricidia, Clitoria and Mucuna
respectively (Table 3). Cows consumed all the maize
bran offered which was equivalent to 2.6 kg DM and
supplied 0.35 kg of CP.
The mean total daily DMI per animal was
approximately 6.8 kg DM. Animals in the control
treatment consumed 5.7 kg DM, which was (P<0.05)
lower than the 7.3 kg DM consumed by cows fed
Clitoria and Gliricidia, and the 6.8 kg for cows fed
Mucuna. The total DMI for the animals that were
supplemented with a legume supplement were similar.
Legume supplementation increased (P<0.05) the diet
DM digestibility from 493 (control diet) to 569, 538
and 536 g kg-1 for animals fed Clitoria, Gliricidia and
Mucuna respectively. A similar trend was observed
with diet OM digestibility. However, the digestibilities
realised with Mucuna and Gliricidia were similar to
those of animals fed the control diet only (Table 3).
Cows that were fed the control diet alone produced 3.9
kg of milk per cow per day. Legume supplementation
(P<0.05) increased milk yield to 4.5, 4.7 and 4.5 kg for
cows fed Clitoria, Gliricidia and Mucuna respectively.
Milk yield was similar between the cows fed a legume
supplement. There were no differences (P>0.05) in
live weight changes between the treatments. On
average all the cows gained approximately 4 kg live
weight by the end of the experiment.
Table 1. Nutrient composition of the feeds (g kg-1DM except where stated)
Stover Clitoria Gliricidia Mucuna Maize bran
Dry matter (g kg-1) 642 210 250 220 867
Organic matter 936 913 911 899 922
Crude protein 52 218 232 180 135
Neutral detergent fibre
Nitrogen bound to NDF
Acid detergent fibre
Calcium 2.0 1.5 4.0 6.3 0.1
Phosphorus 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.4 0.6
Tannins - 17.1 22.3 18.0 -
Juma et al., 2006
Table 2. In vitro gas production (ml) and in vitro OMD of Clitoria, Gliricidia and Mucuna
Incubation time (h) Clitoria Gliricidia Mucuna
12 14.4 17.4 15.4
24 26.4 28.3 27.4
48 35.8 36.5 33.3
72 38.4 39.8 37.9
96 39.1 40.2 39.1
a + b 41.9 43.5 42.4
c 0.05 0.05 0.05
RSD 6.286 5.429 6.605
%IVOMD 48 h 52.8 53.5 50.3
*constants in the model p = a + b (1-e-ct) (Menke and Steingass, (1988), where p = volume of gas produced with time
t; a = intercept of gas production curve; b =asymptote of exponential b(1-e-ct); a + b = potential extent of gas
production, c = rate of gas production. %IVOMD 48 h - In vitro OM digestibility calculated from the equation:
%IVOMD =18.53 + 0.9239 gas production (at 48 h) + 0.054 CP (Menke and Steingass, 1988)
Table 3. Mean daily intakes (kg), milk yield (kg) apparent OMD and DMD for dairy cows fed Maize stover ad
libitum, with or without a legume supplement.
Means in the same row with similar letter superscript are not different at alfa = 5%; Figures on liveweight change are
as at the end of the experimental period.
The CP concentration in the maize stover reported in
this study was higher than that reported by Abdulrazak
et al. (1996) at the same site and elsewhere by
Kimambo et al. (1992) and Urio and Kategile (1987).
The maize stover used in this experiment was cut
immediately after cobs were harvested, as a result had
high moisture content compared to that used in
Abdulrazak’s study (358 g kg-1 of moisture compared
to 137 g kg-1 of moisture), which was cut and stored at
the beginning of the experiment; an indication that the
stover used in Abdulrazak’s study may have been at a
later stage of growth. Crowder and Chedda (1982)
indicated that advanced maturity is accompanied by an
increase in cell wall and a decrease in cell contents.
Control Clitoria Gliricidia Mucuna SEM
Legume 0c 2.1a 2.1a 1.8b 0.06
Stover 3.1a 2.6a 2.6a 2.4a 0.30
Maize bran 2.6 2.6 2.6 2.6 -
Total 5.7b 7.3a 7.3a 6.8a 0.42
Legume 0 c 1.9 a 1.9 a 1.6 b 0.05
Stover 2.8 a 2.4 a 2.5 a 2.2 a 0.29
Maize bran 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.4 -
Total 5.2 b 6.7 a 6.8 a 6.2 a 0.32
DMD (g kg -1 ) 493b 569a 538a 536a 17.3
OMD (g kg -1 ) 488b 589 a 542ab 544ab 34.7
Milk yield (M.Y)
% increase in M.Y
Liveweight change (kg)
Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems, 2006 (6): 1-7
This causes dilution of mineral contents in proportion
to the increase in bulk and results in lower CP, P and
K percentages. The fibre concentration can be
classified as high and was likely to depress its
digestibility and hence intake.
The CP concentration of Gliricidia was within the
range of 210 to 260 g kg-1 reported by Kaitho et al.
(1997). Mucuna had similar CP concentration to the
173 g kg-1 reported by Muinga et al. (2002). This value
was also within the expected range of 150 g kg-1 to
340 g kg-1 documented in the legume-screening
database (Mureithi and Gitahi 2004). Humphreys and
Partridge (1995) reported the CP range of Clitoria to
be between 105 and 255 g kg-1. The mean CP
concentration of Clitoria used in this experiment was
218 g kg-1. The range reported in the Legume
screening database (Mureithi and Gitahi, 2004) was
between 190 g kg-1 and 240 g kg-1. The three legumes
had higher CP concentrations than dairy meal (160 g
kg-1), which is the most popular commercial protein
concentrate. The tannin levels for the three legumes
reported in this experiment were below the critical
level of 6 % as a result were unlikely to have had any
detrimental effects on digestion. However Gliricidia
had high tannin concentration than Clitoria and
Compared to Gliricidia; Mucuna and Clitoria had
higher concentrations of NDF (506 vs. 596 and 605 g
kg-1 DM respectively). This trend was similar for ADF
whose values were 303 vs. 428 and 474 g kg-1 DM for
Gliricidia, Mucuna and Clitoria respectively. The high
fibre content in Mucuna and Clitoria can be explained
by the harvesting height, which was approximately 10
cm from the ground level. In effect stemmy parts of
these legumes were included in the ration hence
increasing the fibrous proportion of the feed. On the
other hand, only leaves and tender/succulent twigs
(less than 5 mm diameter) of Gliricidia were used to
feed the animals thus resulting in the lower fibre
content of Gliricidia. This fact also explains the higher
DM intake of Gliricidia compared to Clitoria and
Mucuna and consequently the higher supplementary
CP supplied by Gliricidia. However the NDF
concentration of the three legumes can be classified as
medium and were unlikely to have any negative
effects on their digestibility (Luinmuller, 1991).
Total gas production was similar between the three
legumes (Table 2), which was also reflected in the
OMD measured in vitro (IVOMD). The 528, 535 and
503 g kg-1 IVOMD of Clitoria, Gliricidia and Mucuna
respectively, show that the three legumes have the
potential to supply metabolisable energy adding their
value as nitrogen supplements.
The CP content of maize stover was however lower
than 7 % required for optimal rumen microbial activity
(McDonald et al., 1991). As a result legume
supplementation had effect on intake, digestibility and
milk yield. In this study legume supplementation
depressed (P>0.05) the intake of maize stover
probably due to substitution effect. Minson and
Milford (1967) reported an increase in the intake of
Pangola grass owing to the elimination of CP
deficiency. However this is not always the case.
Studies elsewhere have reported substitution of the
basal diet by legume supplementation (Getachew et al.
1994; Smith et al. 1990; Mosi and Butterworth 1985).
Minson and Milford (1967) indicated that legume
forage supplements have a stimulating effect on intake
due to their content of N and give rise to substitution
due to their ‘bulk effect’. Animals readily consumed
all the Gliricidia and Clitoria offered as opposed to
Mucuna. Mucuna tended to lose its green colour and
turn black after chopping. This might have led to its
refusal by the animals. Forbes, (1986) indicated that
the overall impression of the feed given by the
animals’ senses plays a vital role in selection of feed
by animals. On average the legumes substituted for
approximately 0.6 kg of the basal diet. Even with
substitution effect, legume supplementation still
increased (P<0.05) total dry matter intake, the reason
being that animals consumed approximately 2 kg of
the legumes, which was more than the amount
substituted for in the basal diet.
The elimination of N deficiency in the rumen due to
legume supplementation resulted in improved rumen
environment. Rumen microbial activity was bound to
be optimal in effect resulting in increased diet
digestibility. Similar results were reported elsewhere
by Pathirana et al. (1992), Premaratne et al. 1992 and
Mosi and Butterworth, (1985) who reported improved
overall diet digestibility with legume supplementation.
The improved diet digestibility led to reduced ingesta
retention time in the reticulo-rumen in effect feed
intake was increased.
Owing to the intake of supplementary CP and the
overall increase in TDMI, cows supplemented with
Clitoria, Gliricidia and Mucuna yielded 15, 20 and 15
% more milk than the unsupplemented ones. Muinga
(1992) noted that the nutritional factors likely to limit
milk production are protein and energy. All cows were
fed 2.6 kg DM of maize bran as an energy source so as
to eliminate energy deficiencies, it was therefore
assumed that energy was not limiting in all the
treatment diets. The increase in TDMI due to legume
supplementation also increased the intake of energy in
the legume-supplemented diet as observed by
McDonald et al. (1991). Calcium, Mg and P were also
assumed to be not limiting since all the animals were
offered 70 g of mineral lick. Milk yield was therefore
likely to be limited by CP intake. All the treatments
were adequate in terms of CP intake for maintenance
(0.318 kg/d for animals weighing up to 400 kg) (NRC,
1994). The increase in milk yield observed in the
legume-supplemented diets is attributed to the intake
Juma et al., 2006
of supplementary CP. Even though cows fed the
control diet alone were expected to lose weight, they
gained approximately 4 kg by the end of the
experiment compared to 5 kg gained by animals
supplemented with a legume. The lack of weight loss
in the unsupplemented animals might be as a result of
the intake of maize bran, which in addition to
supplying energy also supplied 0.35 kg of CP per
kilogram. This was likely to mask any negative effects
of CP deficiency in the diet. The reason animals
gained weight is that they were past mid lactation and
were in the process of replacing body tissues that were
mobilised during early lactation for milk production.
It can be concluded from this study that Mucuna and
Clitoria gave similar lactation performance to
Gliricidia as protein supplements to maize stover basal
diet. Farmers can use Clitoria and Mucuna as protein
supplements at 2 kg DM for increased milk
The authors thank the Rockefeller Foundation for
financing this study through KARI Mtwapa. We are
also grateful to the Director KARI and the Centre
Director, KARI-Mtwapa for facilitating the study. We
are grateful to Dr. J. G. Mureithi, the LRNP
coordinator for his technical support and advice.
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Submitted May 06, 2005 - Accepted August 30, 2005
Revised received October 18, 2005