Evaluation of Robinia Pseudoacacia L. as Browse for Meat Goat Production in the Southeastern USA
Demand for goat meat in the southeastern USA is steadily increasing as a result of preferences exhibited by expanding ethnic communities. Feeding systems can be developed to take advantage of the natural preference of goats for browse. A field study was undertaken in Raleigh, NC to measure the effects of spacing (1.0 or 0.5 m) and coppice height (0.25 or 0.5 m) of a 5-year old stand of black locust (BL; Robinia pseudoacacia L.) on growth characteristics such as herbage mass (HM), canopy height (H) and width, number and size of main branches, above ground woody biomass, and root collar diameter. A second objective was through regression analysis to identify one or more of the previously mentioned characteristics as a rapid method to estimate HM. The third objective was to determine the relationship between growing-degree-days (GDD) and HM, H, herbage quality indicators (N, in vitro true dry matter disappearance, neutral and acid detergent fiber (NDF and ADF), cellulose, and 72% sulfuric acid lignin) and anti-quality indicators (Folin-reactive phenolics, condensed and hydrolyzable tannins) of BL. The final objective was to evaluate the N metabolism of goats fed BL foliage. Results indicated that coppicing BL trees at 0.5 m and planting at the widest spacing (1.0 m) produced the greatest plant growth. Average HM (2,600 kg ha-1) was observed for the highest coppice height (0.5 m). The character most closely related to HM was size of main branches. In 1999, a dry year, there was a significant relationship between GDD and NDF, ADF (r2 =0.90 and 0.80, respectively). In 2000, a wet year, GDD was a poor predictor of NDF and ADF. For 1999 and 2000, GDD was a poor predictor of BL tannin concentrations. From the conclusions of the N metabolism trial, goats consuming BL had lower digestibilities and higher content of N in the feces. Overall, BL contributes well to a silvopastoral system.
Advisor:Larry D. King; James T. Green; Cavell Brownie; Jean Marie Luginbuhl; J. Paul Mueller
School:North Carolina State University
School Location:USA - North Carolina
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:11/25/2003