Thursday, April 11, 2013

Saving the paddy straw is a very important job for feeding cows

Cows fed with paddy straw in summer in SEVAI Cow farm

“Saving the paddy straw is a very important job for feeding cows” said K.Sakthivel of SEVAI in a training program in SEVAI Cow farm situated in Sirugamani.He further said that the savings of paddy straw is important because SEVAI has to feed the cows and calves with paddy straw especially in summer as Green fodder is not available especially this summer in Trichy region due to drought as there is no rain for months and no water in River Cauvery. SEVAI conducted a training program on saving paddy straw for cow rearing in summer. SEVAI Project extension worker K.Sakthivel mentioned in this training session, “Paddy straw contains about 80 percent of substances which are potentially digestible and are therefore sources of energy, but actual digestibility by ruminants is only 45 to 50 percent. The most important consideration in obtaining more animal products from straw in SEVAI is to improve digestibility and intake so that more energy is available for productive purposes. Protein supplements increase intake, while the alkali treatment of straws increases digestibility and usually voluntary intake as well. Straws contain 3 to 5 percent crude protein. Animals on an unsupplemented straw diet will usually not gain any weight and very often will actually lose weight. To obtain any production the straw must be supplemented, preferably with nitrogen/ protein and energy. For good growth on straw diets, a level of 8 to 10 percent protein is needed for young stock; this also improves consumption and thus increases energy intake. A level of about 0.4 percent of calcium in the diet is usually considered adequate for livestock, and many samples of rice straw have this amount, the range being from 0.25 to 0.55 percent. It would therefore seem prudent to feed a calcium supplement with rice straw diets. The routine provision of supplements containing at least these two trace minerals would seem to be warranted. Rice straw stems are more digestible than leaves because their silica content is lower; therefore the paddy crop should be cut as close to the ground as possible if the straw is to be fed to livestock. Thirty percent of rice straw silica is dissolved in the digestive tract, absorbed as silicic acid and excreted in the urine. The concentration of silica acid in urine far exceeds its solubility limit, and thus it polymerizes into large insoluble molecular aggregates. Though rice straw has many limitations as a feed, it is no worse, in general, than other straws. An improvement in the nutrition of the small farmers' animals, particularly during the dry season, should thus be the primary objective. Rice straw also differs from other straws in having a high (1–2 percent) content of oxalates. These are broken down in the rumen to carbonates and bicarbonates, absorbed, and then excreted in the urine. The pH of water extracts of rice straw is about 8 and that of urine from stock fed rice straw as high as 9. The high oxalate content has been implicated in the greater need for calcium supplementation. Water washing removes 30–40 percent of the oxalates and substantially reduces urine pH and titratable alkalinity; calcium balance is also improved. Washing also removes adhering soil, which is considerable, but to be weighed against these benefits is the loss of soluble nutrients, equal to about 10 percent of the original weight of straw”. Govin

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