The aim of the chapter was to evaluate and predict the nutritive and feeding value of unknown and underutilised forages. Underutilised forages were collected from various regions. Chemical composition and degradability of forages in the rumen were determined. A dataset was created bearing degradability parameters of feeds from 40 studies. Using the dataset, a step-wise regression procedure was used to develop regression equations to predict rumen degradability. Of the underutilised forages, crude protein content tended to be double for Brassica oleracea var. acephala compared to Colophospermum mopane leaves and pods. Forage grasses tended to have very low crude protein contents compared to legumes and concentrates. Underutilised Brassica oleracea var. acephala tended to have higher crude protein levels compared to commonly used protein sources. The regression model for predicting the soluble fraction accounted for 59% (development) and 71% (validation) of the variation. The regression model for predicting the potential degradability accounted for 65% (development) and 24% (validation) of the variation. In conclusion, the nutritive value of underutilised forages was good, high in crude protein and high potential degradability. After correcting for factors that significantly affected degradability parameters, predicted solubility and effective degradability lay near the ideal prediction line, giving good predictions.
Part of the book: Forage Groups