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Effect of feeding rice straw and supplements on the performance of cattle under small farmer conditions

Authors:

Thakshala Seresinhe ,

University of Ruhuna, Mapalana, Kamburupitiya, LK
About Thakshala
Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture
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K. K. Pathirana

University of Ruhuna, Mapalana, Kamburupitiya, LK
About K. K.
Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture
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Abstract

Evenly matched pairs of heifers owned by small dairy farmers grazing under coconut under their own conditions were used. They were either fed rice straw ad libitum (S) or S supplemented (SS) with low levels of urea, molasses, rice bran, vitamin/minerals (24, 90, 70 and 16 g/ head/ d, respectively) up to first oestrus and then doubled and trebled during pregnancy and lactation, respectively. Botanical and proximate composition plus dry matter yields of herbage/weeds at each location were recorded. In order of dominance (0 ± SD for all locations), species composition (%) was: pasture grasses (42.6 ± 18.2), fodder grasses (24.8 ± 21.4) with leguminous and other species (16.2± 3.8 and 16.4 ± 8.8, respectively). Proximate composition (%) for pooled (spp., locations overtime) herbage samples (0 ±SD) were: DM (20.6 ± 1.9) CP (10.9± 1.0) and CF (29.3 ± 2.9) indicating an acceptable CP level. Similarly the yield was 1414 ± 263 kg/ha/yr, but pointing to a restricted supply of quantity. Supplementation significantly (P< 0.05) improved the age at first oestrus (11.3 vs 10.5 mo), average live weight gain (ADG, 162 vs 252 g/head/d)) and the live weight at which first oestrus(135.1 vs 154.6 kg/head). The corresponding data which also differed (P<0.05) in favor of SS compared to S were, 33.3 vs 30.5 mo, 233 Vs 322 g/head/d and 208.1 vs 253.4 kg/head), respectively. The weight of calves at birth and the yield of milk were also significantly (P < 0.05) higher due to feeding of supplements. It is recommended that the resource poor small dairy farmers should move away from more extensive to a more intensive stall feeding system of management, based on cheaply available feed resources such as straw, tree legume forage and critical supplements to balance the ration.

How to Cite: Seresinhe, T. and Pathirana, K.K., 2009. Effect of feeding rice straw and supplements on the performance of cattle under small farmer conditions. Tropical Agricultural Research and Extension, 9, pp.131–142. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tare.v9i0.5412
Published on 30 Dec 2009.
Peer Reviewed

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