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3 Underutilized Feed Ingredients Among Ruminants

- May 11, 2018 -

3 underutilized feed ingredients among ruminants

In developing countries, animal feed ingredients may be scarce. By using the "waste" component, some problem can be solved. But what is the nutritional value of these underutilized feed sources? Here we list 3 of them.


First, we take a look at bananas, a kind of crop that is found mainly in humid tropical regions. Nowadays,there exists more than 32 species and 100 subspecies of bananas . According to FAO statistics (1988), the total banana production in the world is 41.9 million tons. Among them, about 12-15 million tons of bananas are used for animal feed each year. Most of the research work in this area is carried out in Latin American countries, which collectively produce 35-50% of global banana production. The biggest limitation of using bananas in cattle breeding is the lack of fermentable nitrogen. An experiment in Colombia clarified this situation by comparing the banana diet with cows with and without cottonseed cake. As shown in Figure 1, supplements can significantly improve ADG. This improvement occurs linearly as the cottonseed cake content increases from 1 kg to 2 kg/day/milk.

Figure 1 - Growth of cattle fed on reject bananas (40% of the diet DM)under various conditions of supplementation with cottonseed cakes.In ADG (kg/d)


Dehydrated green-milled bananas (banana pulp powder) have been used successfully as a source of starch in the preparation of yak feed. In particular for the production of alternative milk products. In a study conducted in Ecuador, it was found that banana powder can successfully replace 50% of the grain in young cattle feed. A study was also conducted to study the possibility of replacing the grain components in goat diets with green or blue bananas. Complete replacement of cereals with bananas was found to result in an increase in dry matter intake and a significant increase in milk production and feed efficiency (Figure 2). Another study was conducted in India to investigate the nutritional value of banana straw on sheep. In this study, dry banana stems replaced 0, 20, 40, and 50% paraglyph hay. Feeding trials continued for 60 days and did not have an adverse effect on feed intake or animal health in all treatments. Weight gain increased to 40% before it began to decline.                 

        Figure 2 - Performance of dairy goats fed diets with different energyand protein supplementation.



Date pit

These products mainly appear in the Arabian Gulf region and Egypt, especially the northwest coast and the Sinai Peninsula. They have recently been used as concentrated feed for ruminants and as feed supplements for grazing livestock. Jujube pit has a high level of metabolizable energy comparable to other feeds such as corn, barley, wheat bran and the like, thereby improving animal weight gain. They also contain growth hormone-like substances that help increase protein utilization in various production uses by promoting the absorption of amino acids and entering various somatic cells. Date pits must not be used for feeding in their original form, but should be soaked in water for at least 3 days to improve their tenderness. They are then dried, ground and incorporated into the rations of sheep, goats, yaks and cows. Table 6 lists examples of these diets. Adding these diets at such recommended rates does not have an adverse effect on growth or other production parameters. In addition, the use of these products in feeding has economic advantages, such as reduced dietary costs and increased revenue from feeding programmes.
Mulberry Leaves

These products can provide suitable feeds for ruminants, provided that they are devoid of any fungal infection, and not treated with pesticides such as copper sulfate or the like. The heaves contain about 16% of protein, 4% of fat, 50% of soluble carbohydrates, and about 7% of fibers (based on dry matter). They can partially replace other feed sources, such as oats, and the maximum replacement level must not exceed 0.5 kg per cow per head and 3.0 kg per kg for sheep and goats. In the case of high inclusion rates, the use of flavoring agents will be necessary to overcome palatability problems. In addition, supplemental phosphorus is needed in diets with high mulberry leaf content to compensate for low phosphorus content of the product, especially when large amounts of steam are involved.



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