Potential use of oldman saltbush (Atriplex nummularia Lindl.) in sheep and goat feeding

H. Ben Salem, H. C. Norman, A. Nefzaoui, D. E. Mayberry, K. L. Pearce, D. K. Revell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Overgrazing and mismanagement of rangelands, climate change, drought and 'salinisation' of lands are threatening the sustainability of production systems and the fertility of cropping lands worldwide. This alarming situation drew the attention of policy makers, scientists and technicians and motivated them to develop feasible and sustainable strategies targeting the promotion of livestock sector in arid and semi arid zones, drought mitigation, protection and better use of natural resources (i.e. rangelands and water sources) and combating soil and water salinity. There has been an increasing awareness of the value of shrubs in forage production and for rehabilitation of depleted rangelands. Among the wide range of multipurpose fodder trees and shrubs, oldman saltbush (Atriplex nummularia Lindl.) has received increasing interest as livestock forage and valuable revegetation species on marginal saline lands, especially in arid zones of Australia and in the West Asia and North Africa (WANA) region. Adapted to drought and water and soil salinity, oldman saltbush produces important consumable biomass in areas where other crops cannot grow. To cope with these harsh conditions, this species accumulates high levels of salt and oxalates on its leaves rendering them less palatable and decreasing their nutritive value. Even though, satisfactory performance of small ruminants fed on A. nummularia has been reported in numerous research studies. This paper presents a thorough review of the literature on fodder potential of oldman saltbush and highlights the main constraints and opportunities to make better use of this shrub for feeding sheep and goat under different production systems. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-28
Number of pages16
JournalSmall Ruminant Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


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