In Ghana, peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) grain and fodder serve as important sources of protein for human and livestock nutrition, respectively. Experiments were conducted in four farming communities to determine the effects of planting annual peanut at four inter-row spacings of 30, 45, 65 and 75 cm on grain and fodder yields (experiment I), growth performance and manure quality (experiment II), and in situ digestibility (experiment III) of Djallonké sheep fed fodder from these plant spacings. Planting peanut at 30 cm inter-row spacing dually increased grain and fodder yields compared to planting at 60, and 75 cm. Peanut fodder from 30 cm inter-row spacing also had comparatively higher concentration of crude protein and lower concentrations of acid detergent fiber and acid detergent lignin, resulting in significant improvements in dry matter digestibility at 48 h and superior average daily weight gain of sheep. The concentration of N excreted in the manure of sheep fed the 30 cm fodder was greater than those fed peanut grown at 60, and 75 cm inter-row spacing. Planting peanut at an inter-row spacing of 30 cm therefore gave dual benefits of increasing grain and fodder yields as well as increasing the digestibility and growth performance of sheep fed peanut fodder as a supplementary diet to natural pasture for 70 days. Higher concentration of N in the manure of sheep fed 30 cm fodder could have additional benefits of improving soil fertility in smallholder farming systems where inorganic fertilizers are expensive and inaccessible to farmers.

This content is only available as a PDF.