Submitted to: Grassland International Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/1993
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: This herbaceous plant grows very rapidly under tropical conditions with minimal nutrient input. It has a very high tolerance to shade so grows well under plantation crops as rubber or oil palms. Asystasia intrusa has very low cell wall concentrations and very high crude protein concentrations. Because it is readily eaten by sheep it can be used in combination with tropical grasses (high in cell wall and low in crude protein concentrations). The combination provides a diet that will support high daily lamb gains. The use of this plant for small ruminant production in the tropics holds significant economic potential.
Technical Abstract: The herbaceous dicot, Asystasia intrusa, was grown in a glasshouse using two nitrogen (N) rates (nil and 80 kg N/ha) each at three levels of shade (63, 32, and 16% of natural photosynthetically active radiation) to determine N and shade influences on fibre fractions and crude protein concentrations. The design was a randomized complete block with four replicates. Treatments did not alter concentrations of fibre or crude protein. Fibre fractions were low (neutral detergent fibre (NDF) = 397 g/kg and acid detergent fibre = 243 g/kg) and crude protein (248 g/kg) was high. Leaf and stem fractions were similar in NDF (391 vs 403 g/kg) but different in the other fibre fractions and crude protein. The fibre and crude portein concentrations indicate that this weed could be a useful forage for ruminants. Studies continue on the soluble N present in the crude protein fraction.