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Title: Physico-chemical analysis of wild flora as potential forage for sheep and goats in Malta
Authors: Bartolo, Samiro
Keywords: Forage plants -- Malta
Sheep -- Malta
Goats -- Malta
Grazing -- Malta
Issue Date: 2016
Abstract: Several flora species that are naturally occurring in the Maltese Islands are considered as undesirable and of little value. This dissertation aims to analyse the potential of these plants to be used as forage crops for sheep and goats in Malta. This was carried out through (1) proximate analysis to determine the proximate values; (2) statistical analyses to interpret the data; (3) a review of relevant academic literature to provide comprehensive information on the advantages and disadvantages of each plant species; (4) and a review of the nutritional requirements of sheep and goats to determine if the plants species collected meet these requirements. Prior to these exercises, an overview of the pastoral scene in the Maltese Islands was highlighted, as well as the topic of forage quality and its affecting factors. The proximates considered in this study are Dry Matter (8.67-48.92%), Ash (1.49-5.86%), Crude Protein (1.92-5.82%), Acid Detergent Fibre (0.68-18.85%), Neutral Detergent Fibre (0.39-21.80%), Ether Extract (0.21-3.17%) and Starch (0-9.99%). The results showed that of the 25 species, six were found to have superior proximate values, of which only three can be practically used. These are Asparagus aphyllus, Ricinus communis, Thymbra capitata, Lonicera implexa, Erica multiflora, and Mentha pulegium. This dissertation met its aims, highlighting its implications for the Maltese herdsman and suggesting areas for future research, even though additional data and calculations are lacking and/or have not yet been developed. This is the result of the limited research that has gone into this field. Nevertheless, given the insights from this study, it has been determined that while further research is needed, there is potential for local flora species to be used as forage crops, both in Malta and overseas.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - InsES - 2016

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