Nutrient Value of Saltwort (Salicornia herbacea L.) as Feed for Ruminants

  • Ishikawa, N. (Institute of Agriculture and Forestry, Univ. of Tsukuba) ;
  • Shimizu, K. (Institute of Agriculture and Forestry, Univ. of Tsukuba) ;
  • Koizumi, T. (Institute of Agriculture and Forestry, Univ. of Tsukuba) ;
  • Shimizu, T. (Institute of Agriculture and Forestry, Univ. of Tsukuba) ;
  • Enishi, O. (National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science)
  • Received : 2001.12.10
  • Accepted : 2002.03.22
  • Published : 2002.07.01


Saltwort (Salicornia herbacea L.), a kind of halophytes in Japan, is under investigation as a feed source for livestock as well as potential oilseed crop in salt marshes and salt fields. The present experiment was undertaken to analyze the nutritive value of saltwort as feed for ruminants. To determine the apparent digestibility and nutritive value of saltwort, five Japanese native goats were fed the diets consisting of alfalfa hay cubes with 15 or 20% (n=3 and n=2, respectively) inclusion levels of saltwort in the total diet on a DM basis. All the animals were randomly offered alfalfa hay cubes as a base diet or a mixed diet of alfalfa hay cubes and saltwort at maintenance level, thereafter, alternative feed (a base or mixed diet) was offered to the experimental animals (the incomplete crossover design). Analysis of the chemical composition of saltwort showed that the plant contained high levels of total ash (40.2% DM), sodium (12.7% DM) and chlorine (19.7% DM), and relatively high levels of CP (11.7% DM) and NDF (40.4% DM). Contents of TDN and digestible CP (DCP), DE and ME of saltwort were 33.5% DM, 8.4% DM, 7.4MJ/DM kg and 5.0MJ/DM kg, respectively. These results indicate that saltwort is rich in DCP and minerals (mainly sodium chloride), but poor in energy, suggesting that saltwort could be used as a mineral or CP supplement for ruminants raised around salinized areas in which high quality feed may not be available.


Saltwort;Salicornia;Nutrient Value;Sodium Chloride;Ruminants


  1. AOAC. 1990. Official Methods of Analysis. 15th edn. Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Arlington, Virginia.
  2. Glenn, E. P., J. J. Brown and J. W. O`Leary. 1998. Irrigating crops with seawater. Scientific American. August:76-81.
  3. Iwasaki, K., T. Haryu, R. Tano, F. Terada, T. Takahashi and K. Kameoka. 1982. Sutudies on the nutrient requirements of pregnant Japanese Black cattle. Effect of dietary energy levels on the energy metabolism in second-calving cows. Bulletin of National Institute of Animal Industry. National Institute of Animal Industry, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, Ibaraki, Japan. 39:41-59.
  4. Japanese Feeding Standard for Dairy Cattle. 1999. Edited by Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council Secretariat. pp. 166-168.
  5. Kadomura, H. 1997. Causes and impacts of desertification/land degradation. In: Data Book of Desertification/Land Degradation (Ed. H. Kadomura). Center for Global Environmental Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Environment Agency of Japan. pp. 17-18.
  6. National Research Council, 1984. Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle. 6th ed. National Academy Press, Washington DC.
  7. Shimizu. K., N. Ishikawa, S. Muranaka and J. Tang. 2001. Digestion trials of mixed diet with saltwort (Salicornia herbacea L.) in goats. Jpn. J. Trop. Agric. 45(1):45-48.
  8. Swingle, R. S., E. P. Glenn and V. Squires. 1996. Growth performance of lambs fed mixed diets containing halophyte ingredients. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 63:137-148.
  9. Vijchulata, P., S. Chipadpanich and L. R. McDowell. 1983. Mineral status of cattle raised in the villages of central Thailand. Trop. Anim. Prod. 8:131-137.
  10. Ibrahim, M. N. M., S. Tamminga and G. Zenmelink. 1987. Nutritive value of some commonly available ruminant feeds in Sri Lanka. In: Ruminant Feeding Systems Utilizing Fibrous Agriculture Residues (Ed. R. M. Dixon). IDP, Canberra, Australia, pp. 137-150.
  11. Yano, F., H. Katamoto and W. Ngampongsai. 1998. A study of mineral status of cattle and goats in South Thailand. In: Status and Requirement of Minerals in Ruminants in Thailand. (Ed. T. Kawashima and P. Vijchulata). JIRCAS Working Report No. 10. JIRCAS, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan. pp. 3-5.
  12. Shimizu, K., T. Ueda and M. Kato. 1997. Effect of salinity treatment on the chemical composition of plants and seeds in Salicornia herbacea L. Jpn. J. Trop. Agric. 41:1-6.
  13. Shimizu, K. 2000. Effects of salt treatments on the production and chemical composition of salt wrote (Salicornia herbacea L.), rhodesgrass and alfalfa. Jpn. J. Trop. Agric. 44(1):61-67.