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Manicoba hay or silage replaces Tifton 85 hay in spineless cactus diets for sheep.


Spineless cactus occupies a prominent position in the composition of ruminant diets and is the most cultivated cactaceous in the semiarid region of Brazil. However, the exclusive supply of spineless cactus to ruminants may cause non-pathological diarrhea and bloat (Gebremariam, Melaku, & Yami, 2006) due to its low content of fiber (Siqueira et al., 2017) and high dry matter degradability (rate of 10% [h.sup.-1]) (Batista et al., 2009). Vieira et al. (2008) support the inclusion of at least 300 g [kg.sup.-1] Tifton 85 hay in the diet of small ruminants fed with spineless cactus to optimize the use of dietary energy and to promote ruminal health. Other sources, such as soybean hulls (Souza et al., 2009), cotton seed (Costa et al., 2012) and sugarcane bagasse (Pessoa et al., 2013) have been suggested to be associated with spineless cactus. However, studies on forages adapted to the semi-arid zone in spineless cactus diets are still scarce.

The Manihot (Euphorbiaceae) genus originated in the Mesoamerica (Duputie, Salick, & McKey, 2011) and presents more than 98 species. The cosmopolitan Manihot esculenta Crantz is distributed throughout the American continent and is considered the main source of starch in the tropical world (Nassar, Hashimoto, & Fernandes, 2008). Other wild species such as Manihot glaziovii (Muell. Arg) also presents potential in animal feed (Backes et al., 2014).

Manihot glaziovii (Muell. Arg) is xerophilous lacticiferous, toxic to animals when ingested in natura (Amorim, Medeiros, & Riet-Correa, 2005), but innocuous as hay or silage. Castro, Silva, Medeiros, and Pimenta Filho (2007) recommended the inclusion of up to 800 g [kg.sup.-1] manicoba hay in sheep diets. Campos et al. (2017) recommended the inclusion of 500 g [kg.sup.-1] natural hybrid of M. glaziovii (Muell. Arg) with M. esculenta silage in sheep diets.

Considering the scenario of climatic changes and the adaptation of M. glaziovii (Muell. Arg) to semi-arid zones, the aim of this study was to evaluate the replacement of Tifton 85 hay (Cynodon spp.) by Manigoba hay or silage (M. glaziovii Muell. Arg) on the intake, digestibility and performance of confined sheep.

Material and methods

The experiment was performed in the following geographic coordinates: 8[degrees]04'03'S and 34[degrees]55'00"W, altitude of 4 meters. According to Koppen (Koppen & Geiger, 1928), the climate of the region is classified as Ams', which is characterized as hot and humid, with an average annual temperature of 25.2[degrees]C.

Twenty-four non-castrated male Santa Ines hair sheep were used, with average body weight of 19.77 [+ or -] 1.95 kg and average age of 160 days, distributed in 3 treatments [Tifton 85 hay (TH), Manicoba hay (MH) and Manicoba silage (MS)], arranged in a randomized blocks design with eight replicates. The animals were housed for 71 days in individual suspended pens with dimensions of 1.2 m x 1.2 m, with feeders and drinkers. The first 15 days were intended for adaptation to the management and 56 days for data collection.

The diets were calculated to meet the gain requirements of 150 g [day.sup.-1] (National Research Council [NRC], 2007) and were composed by spineless cactus (Nopalea cochenillifera Salm-Dyck), Tifton 85 grass hay (Cynodon spp.), Manicoba hay or silage (Manihot glaziovii Muell. Arg), soybean meal, corn, mineral mixture and urea (Table 1 and 2).

Manicoba hay and silage were made from plants harvested directly from the Caatinga biome in Brazil, in the fruiting phase and composed of thin leaves and branches. The material was crushed in a forage machine (Trapp, model TRF-90F) and dried in the sun (hay) or compacted (silage) in polyethylene casks of 250 liters. Tifton 85 hay was also crushed in a forage machine with 8 mm sieve.

All the ingredients were mixed and offered as a complete mixture twice a day at 9 am and 4 pm, with refusals of 15% of the offered. Feed and refusals were quantified for the calculation of daily intake, sampled and stored for later analysis.

The apparent digestibility was obtained with the aid of external purified and enriched lignin (LIPE[R]). The aid LIPE was analyzed in spectrophotometer with light detector in infrared spectrum (FT-IR). Samples of dried and ground feces at 2mm were mixed with KBr and the concentration of LIPE was determined. The assay lasted for 14 days: 9 for adaptation and 5 for total collection. During the collection period, daily samples of feed, refusals and feces were collected to obtain a composed sample per animal. These samples were stored at -15[degrees]C and then dried in oven, processed in a mill and subjected to laboratory analysis.

Feed, refusals and feces were analyzed for dry matter (DM), mineral matter (MM), crude protein (CP) and ether extract (EE) according to the Instituto Nacional de Ciencia e Tecnologia de Ciencia Animal (INCT-CA, 2012). Van Soest, Robertson, and Lewis (1991) methodology was used for neutral detergent fiber (NDF). The equation proposed by Sniffen, O'Connor, Van Soest, Fox, and Russell (1992) was used for the estimation of total carbohydrate (TCH), and for non-fiber carbohydrate (NFC), the equation proposed by Hall, Hoover, Jennings, and Webster (1999) was adopted.

Results and discussion

On average, sheep fed manicoba hay (MH) consumed 100 g DM more (p > 0.05) than the animals fed tifton hay (TH). However, the intake of animals fed manicoba silage (MS) did not differ from the other treatments (Table 3).

The higher DMI of FM-fed animals in relation to FT can be attributed to the anatomical differences between the plant species. Manicoba has a similar anatomy to [C.sub.3] plants (Franca et al., 2010). Therefore, it has an easier ingestion and digestibility than the tropical grass Cynodon (Akin, 1989).

Crude protein intake (170 g day1) and digestible protein (120 g [day.sup.-1]) were not influenced (p > 0.05) by the diets. Although it is a woody shrub, manicoba presents a low content of condensed tannin (1.64% DM) (Cruz et al., 2007), which may contribute to the lack of effect on the protein digestibility. However, manicoba hay and silage presented levels of 105.0 and 125.0 g [kg.sup.-1] DM, respectively, higher than grass hay (75.0 g kg D[M.sup.-1]). Thus, conserved manicoba can be recommended as a supplement for herds in protein deficit (Harun, Alimon, Jahromi, & Samsudim, 2017).

The neutral detergent fiber intake (NDFI) did not differ (p > 0.05) between TH diet and manicoba diets. However, NDFI was lower (p > 0.05) for animals fed SM when compared to MH. It was observed that NDF content of manicoba silage (401 g [kg.sup.-1]) was lower than the hay of the same forage (538 g [kg.sup.-1]), and this may have resulted in the decrease of total NDF. The NDFI did not differ among treatments, indicating that Euphorbiaceae could replace grass in association with spineless cactus without effects on fiber intake.

Santos et al. (2010) studying fiber sources for diets with spineless cactus, did not find effects of the fiber source on NDFI in sheep either.

Data were submitted to analysis of variance at 5% significance (Statistical Analysis System [SAS], 1999). When differences were identified, means were compared by the Tukey's test, at the same level of significance.

Total carbohydrate and NFC intakes were not influenced by the diets (p > 0.05). However, the digestibilities of these analytical fractions were higher (p > 0.05) in the MH diet than in the TH. The TCH and NFC digestibilities were higher in the MH diet than in TH, probably due to the prevalence of A+B1 carbohydrates fraction in manicoba hay (Santos et al., 2017) when compared to Tifton 85 (Muniz et al., 2011).

The digestibility of the non-fibrous carbohydrates of manicoba silage was lower (p > 0.05) than in manicoba hay. The ensiling process consumes some of the soluble carbohydrates of the forage during fermentation (Wilkinson & Davies, 2013). Therefore, it is likely that the residual non-fibrous carbohydrates of silage were more resistant to digestion when compared to those of manicoba hay.

The final body weight, average daily gain and feed conversion did not differ among treatments and presented means of 28.07 kg, 148.5 g [day.sup.-1] and 7.67, respectively (Table 4).

Despite the effects of MH on dry matter intake and carbohydrate digestibility, daily weight gain was within what was predicted by NRC (2007) and did not differ (P > 0.05) among treatments. Lima Junior et al. (2014) also did not observe effect of Tifton 85 hay replaced by manicoba hay. The similarity in TDN values among treatments (610.0 g [kg.sup.-1] TH, 647.0 g [kg.sup.-1] MH and 631.0 g [kg.sup.-1] MS) probably explains the proximity in weight gain and body weight at slaughter.


Manicoba hay or silage can replace Tifton 85 hay in sheep diets associated with spineless cactus. Manicoba hay or silage are alternative forage resources for feeding sheep in arid and semi-arid areas.


The authors thank the Coordenacao de Aperfeigoamento de Pessoal de Nivel Superior (CAPES) for the granting of a postgraduate scholarship (Master degree). The Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnologico (CNPq) and Fundacao de Amparo a Ciencia e Tecnologia do Estado de Pernambuco (FACEPE) for funding this research.


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Received on April 23, 2018.

Accepted on June 11, 2018.

Michel do Vale Maciel (1), Francisco Fernando Ramos de Carvalho (1), Angela Maria Vieira Batista (1), Evaristo Jorge Oliveira de Souza (2), Laura Priscila Araujo Amaro Maciel (1) and Dorgival Morais de Lima Junior (3) *

(1) Departamento de Zootecnia, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco, Brasil. (2) Unidade Academica de Serra Talhada, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Serra Talhada, Pernambuco, Brasil. (3) Campus de Arapiraca, Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Avenida Manoel Severino Barbosa, 57309-005, Arapiraca, Alagoas, Brasil. * Author for correspondence. E- mail:

Doi: 10.4025/actascianimsci.v41i1.42553
Table 1. Chemical composition of dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM),
mineral matter (MM), crude protein (CP), ether extract (EE), insoluble
neutral detergent fiber corrected for ash and protein (NDFap) non-
fiber carbohydrates (NFC), total carbohydrates (TC) of the
ingredients of the experimental diets (g [kg.sup.-1] DM).

Ingredients         DM    OM    MM    CP    EE   NDFap   NFC   TCHO
(g [kg.sup.-1])

Corn ground         904   964   36    83    45    151    684   836
Soybean meal        893   932   68    480   14    155    283   438
Spineless cactus    92    885   115   63    15    217    590   807
Tifton hay          925   907   91    75    22    644    120   812
Manicoba hay        895   919   82    105   55    538    159   758
Manicoba silage     347   914   86    125   62    401    254   726

* Values in g [kg.sup.-1] DM.

Table 2. Chemical composition and percentage of the experimental
diets (g [kg.sup.-1] DM).

(g [kg.sup.-1] DM)         Tifton Hay   Manitoba Hay   Manitoba Silage

Ground corn                   200           160              175
Soybean meal                  115           120              105
Spineless cactus              360           400              400
Tifton hay                    300            00              00
Manitoba hay                   00           300              00
Manitoba silage                00            00              300
Mineral mixture                10            10              10
Urea                           15            10              10

DM (g [kg.sup.-1])           619.0         577.0            413.0
CP (g [kg.sup.-1] DM)        159.0         155.0            156.0
EE (g [kg.sup.-1] DM)         21.0          31.0            34.0
NDFap (g [kg.sup.-1] DM)     320.0         291.0            251.0
MM (g [kg.sup.-1] DM)         94.0          94.0            95.0
OM (g [kg.sup.-1] DM)        891.0         896.0            895.0
NFC (g [kg.sup.-1] DM)       449.0         456.0            493.0
TCH (g [kg.sup.-1] DM)       752.0         737.0            733.0
TDN (g [kg.sup.-1] DM)       610.0         647.0            631.0

Table 3. Nutrient intake (g [day.sup.-1]) and digestibilities (g
[kg.sup.-1]) (mean [+ or -] standard deviation) in sheep fed
Manitoba hay or silage in replacement of Tifton 85 hay.

Variables                  Tifton Hay              Manicoba Hay

Dry matter           1060.1 [+ or -] 138.0     1168.5 [+ or -] 95.4
  (g [day.sup.-1])             (b)                      (a)
Dry matter             0.63 [+ or -] 0.03       0.66 [+ or -] 0,04
  (g [kg.sup.-1])
Crude protein         168.4 [+ or -] 15.8       175.7 [+ or -] 19.5
  (g [day.sup.-1])
Crude protein          0.72 [+ or -] 0.04       0.71 [+ or -] 0.04
  (g [kg.sup.-1])
Neutral detergent     379.1 [+ or -] 54.1     393.9 [+ or -] 31.4 (a)
  fiber                       (ab)
  (g [day.sup.-1])
Neutral detergent      0.59 [+ or -] 0.06       0.58 [+ or -] 0.04
  (g [kg.sup.-1])
Ether extract        24.4 [+ or -] 3.2 (b)     37.4 [+ or -] 3.1 (a)
  (g [day.sup.-1])
Ether extract          0.68 [+ or -] 0.07       0.71 [+ or -] 0.05
  (g [kg.sup.-1])
Organic matter        958.3 [+ or -] 124.8     1058.6 [+ or -] 86.4
  (g [day.sup.-1])
Organic matter         0.66 [+ or -] 0.04       0.71 [+ or -] 0.02
  (g [kg.sup.-1])

Non-fibrous           477.0 [+ or -] 62.1       537.5 [+ or -] 43.9
  (g [day.sup.-1])
Non-fibrous          0.76 [+ or -] 0.04 (c)   0.85 [+ or -] 0.02 (a)
  (g [kg.sup.-1])
Total                 805.7 [+ or -] 104.9      864.7 [+ or -] 70.6
  (g [day.sup.-1])
Total                0.67 [+ or -] 0.05 (b)   0.71 [+ or -] 0.02 (a)
  (g [kg.sup.-1])

Variables                 Manicoba Silage        SEM (#)    P < value

Dry matter           1066.9 [+ or -] 93.2 (ab)    110.79        **
  (g [day.sup.-1])
Dry matter              0.65 [+ or -] 0.03         0.04        0,13
  (g [kg.sup.-1])
Crude protein           167.8 [+ or -] 13.0       16.32        0,27
  (g [day.sup.-1])
Crude protein           0.68 [+ or -] 0.04         0.04        0,54
  (g [kg.sup.-1])
Neutral detergent     340.1 [+ or -] 29.7 (b)     39.96         **
  (g [day.sup.-1])
Neutral detergent       0.57 [+ or -] 0.04         0.04        0,74
  (g [kg.sup.-1])
Ether extract          35.2 [+ or -] 3.1 (a)       3.10         **
  (g [day.sup.-1])
Ether extract           0.69 [+ or -] 0.06         0.06        0,33
  (g [kg.sup.-1])
Organic matter          963.5 [+ or -] 84.2       100.18       0,23
  (g [day.sup.-1])
Organic matter          0.67 [+ or -] 0.03         0.04        0,17
  (g [kg.sup.-1])

Non-fibrous             522.8 [+ or -] 45.7       51.20        0,89
  (g [day.sup.-1])
Non-fibrous           0.80 [+ or -] 0.03 (b)       0.03         **
  (g [kg.sup.-1])
Total                   789.5 [+ or -] 69.0       83.14        0,35
  (g [day.sup.-1])
Total                 0.68 [+ or -] 0.03 (ab)      0.03         **
  (g [kg.sup.-1])

Means followed by different letters, in the same line, differ from
each other, by the Tukey test at 5% of probability. (#) SEM standard
error of the mean.

Table 4. Performance (mean [+ or -] standard deviation) of sheep
fed Manicoba hay or silage in replacement to Tifton 85 hay.

Variables                      Tifton Hay           Manicoba Hay

Initial body weight (kg)    19.3 [+ or -] 2.5     20.1 [+ or -] 1.8
Final body weight (kg)      27.9 [+ or -] 2.5     28.8 [+ or -] 3.2
Average daily gain         153.3 [+ or -] 13.3   156.9 [+ or -] 45.9
  (g [day.sup.-1])
Feed conversion             6.9 [+ or -] 0.9      7.9 [+ or -] 1.9

Variables                    Manicoba Silage     SEM (#)    Pvalue

Initial body weight (kg)    19.9 [+ or -] 1.7      2.01      0,54
Final body weight (kg)      27.5 [+ or -] 2.8      2.83      0,12
Average daily gain         135.3 [+ or -] 32.9    30.70      0,13
  (g [day.sup.-1])
Feed conversion             8.2 [+ or -] 1.7       1.50      0,32

Means followed by different letters, in the same line, differ from
each other, by the Tukey test at 5% of probability. (#) SEM standard
error of the mean.
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Author:Maciel, Michel do Vale; de Carvalho, Francisco Fernando Ramos; Batista, Angela Maria Vieira; de Souz
Publication:Acta Scientiarum. Animal Sciences (UEM)
Date:Jan 1, 2019
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