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The study was designed to evaluate the dry matter yield and quality of two temperate (T. Pratense and T. repens) and two tropical forage legumes (S. guianensis and C.molle) harvested at early-flowering stage for hay in a cool tropical environment of Vom, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. The legumes were planted in the month of June, 2015 and 2016 in a 4 x 4 Latin Square Design with four replicates in plots measuring 5 m x 3 m. The forages were harvested at early-flowering stage for yield components, dry matter yield and nutrient quality evaluation.
The result showed that C. molle was significantly (P<0.01) higher in height in the two seasons compared to the other legumes. Number of leaves per plant was higher (P<0.01) significantly in S. guianensis (125.00) in 2015 whereas, T. repens had higher (P<0.01) value (187.25) in 2016 cropping season. Stylosanthes guianensis produced significantly (P<0.01) higher dry matter with 10.42 t ha-1 in 2015, while the dry matter yield obtained from C. molle (2.90 t ha-1) was the highest in 2016. Trifolium pratense and T. repens were scored excellent grade, while Stylosanthes guianensis and Centrosema molle were scored good in quality. Crude protein content was significantly (P<0.01) higher in T. repens (18.38%) compared to T. pratense (16.50 %), whereas S. guianensis produced the least value of 13.83%. The crude fibre content of the of the forage materials on the other hand was significantly higher (P<0.0I) in S. guianensis (37.29 %) compared to the other forage legumes.
The temperate forage legumes in this trial were higher in nutrient content, but lower in dry matter yield. Therefore, the forage crops may serve as better supplementary feeds for livestock feeding especially during the dry season.