South African Journal of Animal Science
Print version ISSN 0375-1589
A study was conducted to evaluate the variation and expand the existing and limiting nutritive value database of Medicago sativa L. hay (168 near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy spectrally selected samples) in South Africa. The highest moisture content recorded (140 g/kg) was safely below the critical moisture level of 160 g/kg for effective storage. Coefficient of variation (CV) ranged from 1.2% for dry matter (DM) up to 66.2% for acid detergent fibre-crude protein (ADF-CP). The average ash content was 130 g/kg (73 to 295 g/kg), indicating soil contamination. Fibre fractions varied as follows: acid detergent fibre (ADF) (213 to 473 g/kg), neutral detergent fibre (NDF) (289 to 659 g/kg), lignin (43 to 163 g/kg), cellulose (163 to 364 g/kg) and hemicellulose (53 to 199 g/kg). The mean IVOMD for both 24 and 48 h (693 and 732 g/kg DM, respectively), was representative (CV = ± 8%) of the Medicago sativa L. hay population. Crude protein (CP) (average = 207 g/kg DM) consists of 76.9% true protein. According to ADF-CP, 6% of the samples were heat damaged. High mean Ca (13.5 g/kg), P (25.3 g/kg) and Fe (874 mg/kg) values were recorded.
Keywords : Lucerne; quality; chemical analysis.