Effect of planting density on leucaena leucocephala forage and Woody stems production under arid dry climate

Abstract Lack of year round supply of forage for animal feed is common in most parts of dry lands. leucaenaleucocephala is one of most widely used dry season tree legume forage. In this study, the effect of planting density on forage and woody stems production was investigated. Three different planting spacing corresponding to (40X40 cm, 60X60 cm and 80X80 cm) were applied to tests its effects on tree growth and yield. Tree height and diameter were measured before every cutting harvest. In addition to that fresh and dry matter production of both stems and forage (tons/ha), stems, and leaves dry weight ratios over time were determined. The study revealed that different planting densities were resulted in very high significant effects on forage and stem production. Tree height was affected by planning density in most of the harvests, while diameter showed significant difference among the treatments in only one harvest. Planting trees at 40 cm distance produced higher forage yield with smaller woody stems sizes, whereas 60 and 80 cm spacing resulted in lesser forage yield, but with bigger stems size. This indicates that planting trees at closer spacing produce higher wood and forage yield, but the wood with smaller sizes. There is also, observed seasonal variation in production in which hot weather lowered yield. The stems and leaves dry matter ratio revealed that leaves production is slightly higher than stem production and were not affected by planting density. The results conclude that planting leucaena in closer spacing in arid lands will supply a considerable amount of forage as supplementary feed in addition to wood that can be used for different purposes.

Keywords planting density, forage production, wood stems.

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