Livestock Research for Rural Development

Volume 10, Number 1, January 1998

Effect of work (driving sugar cane press) on intake of pressed sugar cane stalk and urea-treated rice straw by buffaloes and cattle

Nguyen Phuc Tien* and T R Preston

University of Agriculture and Forestry, Thu Duc, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
*Goat and Rabbit Research Centre, Son Tay, Hatay province, Vietnam


Six animals (three crossbred Sindhi*Chinese Yellow cows of 249±18 kg and three female buffalos of 337±20 kg ) were used to study the effect of work (driving a sugarcane press ) on intake of pressed sugarcane stalk (PSC) and urea-treated rice straw (UTS) and on some parameters of metabolic stress. Two buffaloes were lactating and were assessed for effects of diet and work on milk yield. The buffaloes were fed PSC for the first two weeks and UTS the second 2 weeks. The cows received UTS in weeks 1 and 2 and PSC in weeks 3 and 4. The buffalos worked during weeks 1 and 3; the cows worked in weeks 2 and 4. On the PSC diet a molasses-urea block was also fed. The UTS was not supplemented.

Intakes of dry matter on both PSC and UTS diets, adjusted by covariance for liveweight, were some 50% higher for the buffaloes than for the cows. The heart rate after working was significantly greater for the cows than for the buffaloes but there were no differences in the rate of grinding the sugar cane.

Dry matter intake was higher on the urea-treated straw diet then on the pressed sugar cane stalk. Buffaloes would not eat the molasses-urea block. By contrast, the cocws consumed an average of 450 g/day. The heart rate of buffaloes after working was much greater when the diet was urea-treated straw compared with pressed cane stalk. Milk yield of the two lactating buffaloes was higher on the diet of urea-treated rice straw than when PSC was fed.

Key words: Buffaloes, cattle, pressed sugarcane stalk, urea-treated rice straw, feed intake, pulse, respiration rate, milk yield, work.

Parámetros nutricionales de algunas arbóreas leguminosas y no leguminosas con potencial forrajera para la suplementación de ruminantes en el trópico.

O I Flores, D Ma Bolivar, J A Botero and M A Ibrahim

Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza, Turrialba, Costa Rica.


Four-month old regrowths (leaves, petioles and tender stems) were collected from four leguminous (Calliandra calothyrsus, Cratylia argentea, Erythrina berteroana and Leucaena leucocephala) and four non-leguminous (Guazuma ulmifolia, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Morus alba.and Trichantera gigantea), trees to determine chemical composition and in vitro digestibility (IVDMD). For five of the species (C. calothyrsus, C. argentea, H. rosa-sinensis, M. alba. and T. gigantea) determinations were made of in sacco digestibility using the nylon bag technique in four rumen-fistulated steers in confinement. Crude protein (N*6.25) in dry matter exceeded 18% for all species except G. ulmifolia (11%). In vitro digestibility was greater in the non-leguminous species M. alba, H. rosa-sinensis and T. gigantea (74, 72 and 67%, respectively), than in the other species for which the IVDMD values were in the range 34 to 54%. Rumen dry matter degradability after 96 hours incubation were also highest in the three non-leguminous species which had highest IVDMD (87, 87 y 89%, for M. alba, H. rosa-sinensis and T. gigantea, respectively). The values for digestibility and crude protein content of the three non-leguminous species (M. alba, H. rosa-sinensis and T. gigantea) indicate their high potential as supplements for animals receiving basal diets of low nutritive value.

Key words: IVDMD, in sacco digestibility, crude protein, NDF, ADF, Calliandra calothyrsus, Cratylia argentea, Erythrina berteroana, Guazuma ulmifolia, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Leucaena leucocephala, Morus spp., Trichantera gigantea.

Errores de predicción de la producción de leche por lactancia a partir de pesajes a distintos intervalos de tiempo en vacas de doble propósito

Jazmín Florio, Lucía Vaccaro, Armando Pérez y Humberto Mejías

Instituto de Producción Animal, Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV), Maracay, Venezuela.


The records used for this study refer to 902 lactations of 615 cows, mainly (96%) Bos taurus x Bos indicus crossbreds, kept on three dual purpose farms located in Guárico State, Venezuela. Management was typical of the dual purpose system in the American tropics: milking by hand once daily with calf suckling, and grazing with little or no supplementation.. Daily milk records were used to estimate total production, simulating different simple (one day/interval) or combined (two or more consecutive days/interval) sampling frequencies. The absolute value (without sign) of the differences between the estimated and actual production levels were calculated to determine the real size of the error. Results were expressed in units (kg) and as % of the mean level of milk yield. The errors (with signs) were then subjected to an analysis of variance to determine the effects of herd (1,4,5), breed group (> ½, ½ and < ½ European crossbreds), and lactation number (1, 2-4, 5-10).

Unadjusted mean yield was 904±427 kg, with a mean duration of 235±79 days. Simple weekly (W), two-weekly (TW) and monthly (M) samples generated mean errors of 2.3%, 3.9% and 6.9%, respectively. However, the range of extreme errors was wide, reaching 21.9% (W), 50.6% (TW) and 53.8% (M). Combined sampling improved the precision for each interval, generating mean errors of 1.5%, 1.2%; 3.2%, 2.9%; 6.3%, 5.9% and 5.6% for 2 and 3 days/week (2W, 3W); 2 and 3 days/two weeks (2TW, 3 TW); 2, 3 and 4 days/month (2M, 3M, 4M), respectively. The ranges of extreme errors for these samplings were 12.5% (2W), 9.3% (3W), 32.7% (2TW), 33.0% (3TW), 52.2% (2M), 46.6% (3M) and 40.1% (4M). In general, no combined sampling for a given interval exceeded or even reached the precision obtained from sampling carried out at a shorter interval. Variation in the errors was observed due to herd (W, 2M, 3M, 4M), breed group (M) and lactation number (TW, 2TW, M). However the effects were not sufficiently important to change the decision as to which interval should be used.

It was concluded that a simple TW interval is the maximum acceptable for sampling in traditionally managed dual purpose herds. However, if it is required to reduce the wide variation in the errors, the combined TW and W or simple W samplings are necessary, although this increases recording costs. Further studies are recommended to explore practical options for milk recording under these conditions.

Key words: Milk Production, Records, Sampling Interval, Dual Purpose Cattle

Effect of replacing sugar cane juice with African palm oil (Elaeis guineensis) on performance and carcass characteristics of pigs

Le Duc Ngoan*, R B Ogle**, Patricia Sarria*** and T R Preston****

Instituto Mayor Campesino, Buga, Valle, Colombia,
*College of Agriculture and Forestry, Hue University, Vietnam
**Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden ***Universidad Nacional Agropecuaria, Medellin, Colombia
**** Finca Ecologica, College of Agriculture and Forestry, National University of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


At the Instituto Mayor Campesino (IMCA), Buga, Valle, Colombia, 15 Large White * Hampshire (LW*HS) growing- fattening pigs in individual pens were allocated to one of five dietary treatments, with one castrate and two females per treatment. The treatments were mixtures of SCJ and PO on an isocaloric basis of 100:0, 75:25, 50:50, 25:75 and 0:100. Feeding was ad libitum. The trial period was from 24 to 90 kg mean live weight, after which the pigs were slaughtered for carcass evaluation. Daily liveweight gains were in the range of 690 to 850 g/day and were not affected by dietary treatment (P>0.05). Dry matter intake was reduced and feed dry matter conversion ratio improved by increasing the proportion of PO in the diet (P<0.05). Loin eye area was increased and back fat thickness reduced as the proportion of energy derived from PO was increased.

Key words: palm oil, sugar cane juice, pigs, digestibility, growth, carcass traits

Effects of restricted suckling versus artificial rearing on milk production, calf performance and reproductive efficiency of dual purpose Mpwapwa cattle in a semi-arid climate

Carlos E Mejia*, Thomas R Preston** and Pernilla Fajersson***

Livestock Production Research Institute (LPRI), Mpwapwa, Tanzania
*Centro pare la Investigacion en Sistemas Sostenibles de Produccion Agropecuaria (CIPAV), Carrera 35A Oeste # 3–66 Cali, Colombia. AA: 20591. (E-mail:
** Finca Ecologica, College of Agriculture & Forestry, Ho Chi Minh City University, Thu Duc, Vietnam (
***Texas A & M University, Texas, USA


Twenty pure Mpwapwa and 16 crossbreed Mpwapwa cows with calves were used in an experiment to compare restricted suckling (RS) versus artificial rearing (AR) of calves in Tanzania. A randomized design was used. The cows were bred naturally and kept in areas with mixed pasture and received 4 kg/day of concentrate. Calves remained with their dams during the first five days and were then allocated to the RS or AR. treatments; AR. calves were weaned at 75 days of age and were provided with 4 1itres of milk daily for 70 days, while RS calves stimulated milk letdown of the cow and after milking were suckled by their dams for 30 minutes. All calves were grazed and were provided with concentrate, minerals and water ad libitum. Milk yield from cows and milk consumed by calves were recorded for 175 days after calving. Reproductive behavior of the cows was determined by Radio-immuno-assay (RIA) of milk progesterone.

Six of the 18 AR. cows were affected by mastitis compared to only one of the RS group. Mean (±SE) daily yields of milk for Mpwapwa cows in RS and AR. were 6.9 ± 0.45 litres and 7.6 ± 0.41itres (P>0.05), respectively. Corresponding values for crossbreeds were 8.6 ± 0.54 and 8.0 ± 0.59 1itres (P>0.05), respectively. The daily saleable milk for Mpwapwa cows in RS and AR. was 6.9 ± 0.45 1itres and 6.0 ± 0.411 (P<0.05), respectively; while for crossbred cows the amounts were 8.6 ± 0.54 1itres and 6.4 ± 0.59 1itres (P<0.05), respectively. Mean daily total milk yields for Mpwapwa RS and AR. cows were 8.9 ± 0.44 1itres and 7.6 ± 0.40 1itres (P<0.05) and for crossbreeds 10.6 ± 0.53 1itres and 8.0 ± 0.58 1itres (P<0.05), respectively. Means (±SE) for fat content in bucket milk and residual milk, for Mpwapwa were 3.56 ± 0.25 % and 4.97 ± 0.25% (P<0.05), respectively; and for crossbreeds 3.6 ± 0.31% and 6.3 ± 0.31% (P<0.05), respectively. Mean daily gains for RS and AR. calves were 381 ± 16 g and 356 ± 16 g (P>0.05), respectively. Saleable milk from RS cows was 15.0 % higher for the Mpwapwa and 34.3 % higher for the crossbred cows compared to saleable milk from cows of either breed with calves under AR.

Postpartum anoestrous was longer in RS cows in both genotypes compared to AR. cows. Body weight of cows postpartum was not affected by restricted suckling.

Key words: Restricted suckling, milk production, reproductive performance, Mpwapwa cattle, semi-arid region, Tanzania.

Constraints and opportunities for improved milk production and calf rearing in Sanyati communal farming area, Zimbabwe

Charlotte Pedersen and J Madsen

The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, 13 Blowsvej, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C. Denmark (e-mail and


The objectives of this study were to obtain an understanding of the Sanyati farming system, which is similar to most farming systems in the rural areas of Zimbabwe, and to investigate the constraints and opportunities for improved milk production and calf rearing in a communal farming system under tropical conditions. There are several constraints to milk production and calf rearing, most caused by poor nutrition and limited management. Gastro-intestinal nematodes are an epidemiological constraint but worsened by poor management. How these constraints affect production was in focus.

Milk yields of cows and growth rates of calves were important aspects. The average milk yield over a 150 day period was 5 litres/day and the average growth rate of calves from birth till 4-5 months old was 350 g/day. A high degree of individual variation within the herd was found. Thus, apparently, there is a good base to carry out selection for better production traits such as higher milk yields and growth rates.

Low quality roughage is the predominant feed of cattle in this farming system and supplementation is needed to increase production. It is very important to keep in mind that supplements should also promote better utilisation of the available low quality roughage. Better knowledge about which groups of cattle respond best to supplementation must be gained.

Key words: Common lands, cows, calves, milk yield, growth rate, parasites

Effect of exchange rate of the medium (water and biodigester effluent) on biomass yield and composition of duckweed

Nguyen Duc Anh and T R Preston

University of Tropical Agriculture, Thu Duc, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


Duckweed was grown in plastic bins of 100 litre capacity with a water surface area of 0.17 m2. The source of nutrients was effluent from a biodigester charged with cattle manure mixed with water in the ratio of 9.1% effluent: 90.9% water (by volume). Five rates of exchange of the medium were compared: 0, 9.1, 13.6, 18.2 and 22.7% per day.

There were significant differences in yield and in content of dry matter, crude protein (N*6.25), phosphorus and crude fibre due to medium exchange rate, the trends being positive for yield (R² = 0.99), and content of dry matter (R² = 0.95 ), crude protein (R² = 0.99) and phosphorus (R² = 0.95) and negative for crude fibre (R² = 0.62).

It is suggested that the beneficial effects of partial exchange of the medium could be related to the reduction in temperature (from 33.2 to 31.4 ºC) in the medium or to the removal of compounds present in the biodigester effluent that were inhibitory to growth.

Keywords: Biodigester, effluent, duckweed, exchange rates of the medium.

Effects of urea concentration, moisture content, and duration of treatment on chemical composition of alkali treated rice straw

Nguyen Xuan Trach *, Cu Xuan Dan *, Le Viet Ly**, and Frik Sundstøl***

* Hanoi Agricultural University, Gialam, Hanoi, Vietnam
** National Institute of Animal Husbandry, Tuliem, Hanoi, Vietnam
*** Agricultural University of Norway.


An experiment with a 2x3x3 factorial design was carried out to examine the effects of two levels of alkali (5% urea and 3% urea plus 0.5% calcium hydroxide), three ratios of water/straw (0.5:1, 0.75:1 and 1:1), and three treatment durations (10, 20 and 30 days) on chemical composition of rice straw after aeration and pre-drying at 65 oC. It was found that the levels of the different factors did not affect the neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and acid detergent fibre (ADF) content, although these two measurements were slightly lower in treated straw than in untreated straw. The more urea and the longer the treatment duration were, the higher was the content of chemically fixed nitrogen (P<0.05). However, the nitrogen content was not significantly affected by the change of water:straw ratio from 0.5:1 to 1:1.

Key words: urea treatment, rice straw, NDF, ADF, nitrogen content

Reproductive behaviour of commercial Zebu cows with calves under a regime of restricted suckling

*R Alderete,* H Losada, **J Cortés, M Osorio and E Aranda

Postgraduate College, Campus Tabasco, México
*Facultad de Zootecnia, Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, México
**Animal Production Systems Area, Department of Biology of Reproduction, Division of Biological and Health Sciences, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa. Av. Michoacán y la Purisíma. Col. Vicentina. Iztapalpa. México DF, CP 09340.


A total of 153 commercial Zebu cows with a mean liveweight of 370 kg were allocated at random to two treatments: (a) cows pregnant and/or with calves; and (b) non-pregnant cows without calves. The grazing area was made up of 50 ha of African Stargrass (Cynodon plectostachyus), divided in 20 paddocks, managed in rotation and fertilised with 200 kg of N/ha/yr. All the animals received 3.5 kg/day of a molasses/urea (2.5% urea) supplement. Confirmation of animals on heat, inseminations and diagnosis of pregnancy were made using conventional procedures. The calves were managed under a system of restricted suckling twice a day during periods of 30 minutes. The experiment had a duration of 100 days, between the months of June and September.

The percentage of animals coming into heat and conceiving were 82.5 vs. 86.0%, and 55.5 vs. 65.9% for cows with and without calves, respectively. The interval from the beginning of the mating season to first heat was 46.9 days for cows with calves, and 17.4 days for cows without calves (P<0.001). The values for the interval between calving and first heat, and calving and conception were 79.7 and 90.9 days in that order. The percentage of cows needing more than two services to achieve pregnancy was less in the treatment with cows that had calves (28.5%) than those without (43.1%). The response in reproduction behaviour obtained from the animals with calves is discussed in relation to the effect of the molasses/urea supplement.

Key words: molasses/urea, cows, reproductive performance, Zebu.

Socio-economic microbial process strategies for a sustainable development using environmentally clean technologies: Sagopalm a renewable resource

Horst W Doelle

MIRCEN-Biotechnology Brisbane and the Pacific Regional Network


In order to secure health with high life expectancy and to become self-efficient, which means supply and demand for domestic consumption is guaranteed, each government must strive and direct all its efforts towards increasing renewable resource production, thereby maintaining or reducing its demand by diversification of the staple food and at the same time remove health hazardeous wastes. Increased monoculture with a single outlet will continue to cause problems to farmers and the ecological environment. In order to foster deurbanisation, the farmer has to be offered attractive alternatives, which means security through a change froma mono- to a multiple-product agricultural industry. This alternative must include clean technologies providing the people with a cleaner environment [prevention of infectious diseases], food, feed, fertiliser, fuel as well as energy. In SEAsia and parts of the Pacific Region, the sagopalm is a unique renewable resource and was therefore selected for this presentation. The palm grows well in swampy areas unsuitable for other crops, is very suitable for humid tropical low lands and contains an average of 160 kg starch, which can be increased to 275 kg in a well attended farm. This means that an average 25 t of starch/hectare sagopalm cultivation could be obtained. A comprehensive socio-economic integrated biosystem will be presented, whereby the sagopalm farm can be used to supply (1) house building material (2) energy through gasification (3) mushroom production (4) starch flour (5) ethanol for biofuel (6) methane or biogas for energy (7) aquaponics and fish production for food (8) microbial protein for animal feed (9) compost or other residual effluent for organic fertilisation of the farm Such a system would increase self-efficiency on the farm, clean environment through reutilisation of the so-called 'waste' into value-added products and thus greatly increase the income of the farming community.

Key words: Sago palm, biotechnology, starch, biomass

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