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Velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina)

Datasheet

Description
Click on the "Nutritional aspects" tab for recommendations for ruminants, pigs, poultry, rabbits, horses, fish and crustaceans
Common names 

Velvet mesquite

Feed categories 
Description 

Velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina Voot.) is a tropical perennial shrub or tree of desertic areas. Originally from Central America, it has been introduced to other regions as a source of feed or firewood. It has become a pest in some countries.

Morphology

Prosopis velutina is a large shrub to small tree reaching a height of 15 m. The trunk is short, covered with a shaggy bark. Velvet mesquite is much branched. The branches are crooked and form a rounded crown. All parts of the plant are softly hairy, hence the name velvet. The leaves are alternate, bipinnate, up to 6 cm in length. The 12-30 leaflets are coriaceous, oblong in shape, 10 mm long x 2-3 mm broad. The inflorescences are catkins, 5-9 (-25) cm long with short-pedicelled, externally pubescent flowers, yellow in colour. The fruit is a linear to moderately curved, constricted pod, 10-20 cm in length that contains 10-17 ovate seeds (Pasiecznik, 2016; Anderson et al., 2000).

Uses

In Southern America and Central America, velvet mesquite has been traditionally used by native populations who ground the seeds into flour and used it for meal preparation, for bakery etc. (Vint, 2017; Gormally, 2011; Saunders et al., 1986). It has been assessed and introduced in developing countries as a source of firewood and is considered as a potential multipurpose species. The pods are consumed by a very wide range of domestic and wild mammals and birds. Pods are browsed on the trees or eaten on the ground when they have fallen. Flowers are consumed by livestock when they are available, and provide valuable nectar for honey bees. The foliage of mesquite is not eaten in great extent but may be appreciated in times of drought or scarcity of forage. In Mexico, farmers were reported to grind mesquite seeds to feed cattle. Velvet mesquite provides habitat to animals: lizzards live in the tree, birds nest in it, and rodents have their burrows under it. The tree provides unvaluable shade in desert areas and allows animals to deal with heat. As a pioneering species, velvet mesquite may be used in rehabilitation programmes in places invaded with saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima) (Uchytil, 1990).

Distribution 

Prosopis velutina is thought to be native to Mexico and the USA, where it is found in Arizona, New Mexico and to a lesser extent in California (Uchytil, 1990). As other mesquite species, velvet mesquite was introduced to Australia and Southern Africa as fodder for stock, as an ornamental or as a soil binding cover in mine dumps and other soil stabilisation programs (DAF, 2020; Pasiecznik, 2016).

Velvet mesquite occurs in oak woodlands, in desert grasslands, and pinyon-juniper woodlands, sometimes in reasonable density but most often scattered. Along water courses or drainage basins, velvet mesquite may be the dominant species (Uchytil, 1990). It is generally found below 1400 m altitude, in places where there are more than 200 annual frost free days and where the minimum annual temperature is over -19.5°C. It can grow in along water drainages in desert area with only 150 mm annual rainfall. It tolerates high moisture (1500mm annual rainfall) in neutral or alkaline soils (Dahl, 1982). Velvet mesquite is resistant to fires and they may be favour its encroachment as the tree rapidly resprouts from basal buds after fire. Seed dormancy can be suppressed after a fire and have a positive effect on the spreading of the species (Uchytil, 1990).

Environmental impact 

Rehabilitation programmes

As a pioneering species, velvet mesquite may be used in rehabilitation programmes in desert areas invaded with saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima) (Uchytil, 1990).

Invasiveness

Velvet mesquite is a pioneering species that can become invasive. It is now considered an invasive tree in Queensland (Australia) and it is not allowed to be given away, sold, or released into the environment (DAF, 2020). There have been some attempts to control velvet mesquite through the use of integral cuttings as lignocellulosic feed for ruminants (Bryant et al., 1982; Richardson et al., 1982).

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 

Information about the nutritional value of Prosopis velutina is lacking. Being a legume tree, its seeds and forage are rich in protein: two values, 22 and 55% DM have been recorded for the seeds (Becker et al., 1980; Catlin, 1925), and one value of 20% DM for the forage (Lyon et al., 1988). The full pods contain 13-14% protein and are remarkable for their high sugars content (22% DM) (Becker et al., 1980; Fraps, 1924). The pod husks are rich in fibre (crude fibre 24-33% DM) and sugars (32% DM) (Becker et al., 1980).

Potential constraints 

Toxicity

Serious digestive troubles and even death have been reported in cattle and horses eating the seeds of mesquite (Dahl, 1982). 

Ruminants 

Pods and foliage of velvet mesquite may be consumed by ruminants, but information is only available for wild animals.

Pods

Wild ruminants were reported to consume velvet mesquite pods and the pods could represent 9 and 24-29% of the diet of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) respectively during summer in South Central Arizona (Short, 1977; Mc Cullock et al., 1973 cited by Uchytil, 1990).  The foliage of velvet mesquite only represented 0.3 % to 4.9 % of mule deers diet (Short, 1977 cited by Uchytil, 1990).

Leaves

Mule deer was  reported to consume large quantities of mesquite foliage when other browse were scarce. However, livestock seldom eat velvet mesquite browse, small amounts of leaves and twigs are consumed in the spring and this consumption may increase during drought years when other forage is lacking, or following a killing frost in the fall (Dahl, 1982).

Lignocellulosic residues

Ozone-treated wood of mesquite was assessed to feed steers. Dietary supplements providing 25% fibre were prepared with sorghum grain, cottonseed meal and either ozone-treated wood of mesquite either cotton seed hulls. These supplements were offered during winter months (January to March) to grazing steers at increasing level as the amount of native grass in the stands declined. It was found that the lignocellulosic residue of mesquite wood could only sustain maintenance requirements of the steers (Bryant et al., 1982). Treated mesquite wood was included in lambs diet at low level (up to 5%) and had detrimental effect on feed conversion at 5% (Richardson et al., 1982). 

Pigs 

No information could be found on the use of velvet mesquite for pigs. However, in Arizona, collared peccaries fed heavily on velvet mesquite beans from July to September (Eddy, 1961).

Poultry 

Quails eat mesquite buds and flowers in the spring, and seeds during the fall and winter. The seeds often comprise 10 to 25 % of the diet of gambel quail (Uchytil, 1990). Wild turkeys consume some leaves (Uchytil, 1990).

Rabbits 

No information seems available in the international literature (April 2021) on the use of any part of the velvet mesquite in domestic rabbit feeding. However, there are numerous examples of the plant and its parts being eaten by wild lagomorphs. Young velvet mesquite plants growing after a fire are intensively consumed by wild jackrabbit or cattle in Arizona (Bainbridge et al., 2014; Humphrey, 1949). Adult velvet mesquites are damaged (partly consumed) by wild rabbits and rodents (Timmons, 1994) The seeds contained in the pods are also consumed by wild rabbits (among other species) (Anderson et al., 2000). According to these observations, leaves or seeds of the velvet mesquite are most probably suitable to feed domestic rabbits , but direct experiments would be welcome.

Nutritional tables

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Crude protein % DM 20.2       1  
Crude fibre % DM 27       1  
Neutral detergent fibre % DM 41.8       1  
Acid detergent fibre % DM 33.1       1  
Lignin % DM 7.8       1  
Ether extract % DM 10.3       1  
Ash % DM 5.5       1  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 21         *
               
Amino acids Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Arginine g/16g N 4.4       1  
Cystine g/16g N 1.7       1  
Histidine g/16g N 1.9       1  
Isoleucine g/16g N 3.5       1  
Leucine g/16g N 6.6       1  
Lysine g/16g N 5.5       1  
Methionine g/16g N 1.6       1  
Methionine+cystine g/16g N 3.3       1 *
Phenylalanine g/16g N 4.6       1  
Threonine g/16g N 3.4       1  
Valine g/16g N 4.6       1  
               
Secondary metabolites Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Tannins (eq. tannic acid) g/kg DM 110       1  
               
Ruminants nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 60.8         *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 58.1         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 12.2         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 9.7         *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 68.1         *
               
Rabbit nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Energy digestibility, rabbit % 50         *
Nitrogen digestibility, rabbit % 78.3         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.

References

Lyon et al., 1988

Last updated on 20/09/2021 15:14:14

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 94       1  
Crude protein % DM 6.5   6.2 6.9 2  
Crude fibre % DM 28   23.5 32.5 2  
Neutral detergent fibre % DM 50.9         *
Acid detergent fibre % DM 34.9         *
Ether extract % DM 1.9   1.5 2.2 2  
Ash % DM 5.4   5.3 5.5 2  
Total sugars % DM 31.6       1  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.4         *
               
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 6.3       1  
Potassium g/kg DM 16.1       1  
Sodium g/kg DM 0.4       1  
Magnesium g/kg DM 0.9       1  
Manganese mg/kg DM 12       1  
Zinc mg/kg DM 10       1  
Copper mg/kg DM 6       1  
Iron mg/kg DM 49       1  
               
Ruminants nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 62.4         *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 59.6         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 11         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 9         *
               
Rabbit nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
DE rabbit MJ/kg DM 8.7         *
Energy digestibility, rabbit % 47.1         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.

References

Becker et al., 1980; Catlin, 1925

Last updated on 20/09/2021 14:27:46

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 93.7   92.7 94.6 2  
Crude protein % DM 12.7   11.8 13.6 2  
Crude fibre % DM 25.9   22.6 29.1 2  
Neutral detergent fibre % DM 48.1         *
Acid detergent fibre % DM 32.3         *
Ether extract % DM 2.2   2 2.4 2  
Ash % DM 5   4.8 5.1 2  
Total sugars % DM 22.2       1  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.9         *
               
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 5.3       1  
Potassium g/kg DM 12.7       1  
Sodium g/kg DM 0.3       1  
Magnesium g/kg DM 0.9       1  
Manganese mg/kg DM 15       1  
Zinc mg/kg DM 26       1  
Copper mg/kg DM 8       1  
Iron mg/kg DM 40       1  
               
Ruminants nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 76       1  
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 72.7         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 13.7         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 11.1         *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 90.4       1  
               
Rabbit nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
DE rabbit MJ/kg DM 9.4         *
Energy digestibility, rabbit % 49.9         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.

References

Becker et al., 1980; Fraps, 1924

Last updated on 20/09/2021 14:24:28

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 97.6       1  
Crude protein % DM 42.4   29.4 55.3 2  
Crude fibre % DM 5.8   4.5 7.1 2  
Neutral detergent fibre % DM 21.8         *
Acid detergent fibre % DM 8.6         *
Ether extract % DM 7.3   5.7 8.9 2  
Ash % DM 4.1   3.8 4.4 2  
Total sugars % DM 3.9       1  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 20.6         *
               
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 2.6       1  
Potassium g/kg DM 6.8       1  
Sodium g/kg DM 0.6       1  
Magnesium g/kg DM 1.8       1  
Manganese mg/kg DM 24       1  
Zinc mg/kg DM 50       1  
Copper mg/kg DM 14       1  
Iron mg/kg DM 47       1  
               
Ruminants nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 86.6         *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 87.6         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 13.9         *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 78.8         *
               
Rabbit nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
DE rabbit MJ/kg DM 16.5         *
Energy digestibility, rabbit % 80.2         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.

References

Becker et al., 1980; Catlin, 1925

Last updated on 20/09/2021 14:50:35

References
References 
Datasheet citation 

Heuzé V., Tran G., Lebas F., 2021. Velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina). Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/260 Last updated on September 20, 2021, 15:41