Abstract: This study was conducted to evaluate quality indices in two common Iranian alfalfa varieties as a forage source in sheep nutrition. The studied alfalfa varieties were Hamedani (HAM) and Kareyonge (KAR). Chemical composition, Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF), Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF), Acid Detergent Lignin (ADL), leaf to stem ratio and predicted Dry Matter Intake (DMI), Dry Matter Digestibility (DMD) were determined and Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN), Net Energy for Lactation (NEL), Relative Feed Value (RFV), Relative Forage Quality (RFQ), of feeds were estimated. Three ruminal fistulated Gezel rams, were used for in vivo and in situ trials. The NDF and ADF contents of two alfalfa varieties were significantly different (p< 0.01). No significant difference found between CP, ADL and leaf to stem ratio of two alfalfa hays (p>0.05). The TDN and NEL contents of two varieties and DMI (% of BW and g per kg BW0.75) and DMD (%) had significant differences (p< 0.01). The RFV and RFQ values for experimental varieties were significantly different (p< 0.01). It can be concluded that HAM hay can have a higher nutritional quality than KAR hay because of lower cell wall and higher TDN contents and therefore, HAM hay may be evaluated more accurately when tested for RFQ instead of RFV.
A. Mirzaei Aghsaghali , N. Maheri Sis , A. Mirza Aghazadeh and A. R. Safaei , 2007. Estimation of Quality Indices of Iranian Alfalfa Varieties Using in vivo and in situ Methods . Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 6: 1022-1027.