Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 199–204 | Cite as

Intake, digestibility, rumen protein synthesis, and growth performance of Malawi Zebu steers fed diets containing rangeland-based protein sources

  • Gregory Chingala
  • Emiliano Raffrenato
  • Kennedy Dzama
  • Louwrens C. Hoffman
  • Cletos MapiyeEmail author
Regular Articles


The study evaluated effects of feeding Malawi Zebu steers with diets containing baobab (Adansonia digitata) seed meal and white thorn tree (Vachellia polyacantha) leaf-meal as alternative protein sources to soybean meal on dry matter intake (DMI), total tract nutrient digestibility, rumen microbial nitrogen supply and growth performance. Thirty Malawi Zebu steers (181 ± 21.4 kg and 29 months), put into individual pens, were randomly assigned to three treatments (10 steers per treatment) made up of rangeland hay and maize bran with either baobab seed meal (baobab diet), V. polyacantha leaf-meal (Vachellia diet), or soybean meal (soybean diet, control) as the protein source. Steers fed the soybean and baobab diets had higher (P ≤ 0.05) DMI, final BW, average daily gain (ADG), and total tract nutrient digestibility of DM, NDF, CP and crude fat than those fed the Vachellia diet. Steers fed the soybean diet had the highest feed conversion ratio followed by those fed the baobab and Vachellia diets, respectively (P ≤ 0.05). Steers fed the baobab diet had the highest rumen microbial N followed by the soybean- and Vachellia-fed steers in that order (P ≤ 0.05). Steers fed the baobab diet had higher microbial N supply, comparable DMI, ADG, FCR, and nutrient digestibility to the soybean diet. The baobab seed meal could be an alternative protein source to the soybean meal for beef production in Malawi.


Adansonia digitata seed meal Beef production Vachellia polyacantha leaf-meal 



This study was made possible through the financial assistance of the Royal Kingdom of Norway through the Capacity Building for Managing Climate Change Programme in Malawi.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical clearance (SU-ACUD14-00075) for the current research was provided by Stellenbosch University Human Research (Humanities) Ethics Committee.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal SciencesStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa
  2. 2.Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural ResourcesLilongweMalawi

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