Livestock Research for Rural Development 5 (1) 1993

Citation of this paper

Effect of molasses-urea cake on performance of growing and working local buffaloes and cattle fed low nutritive value diets

Nguyen van Thu, Nguyen thi kim Dong, Nguyen van Hon and Vo ai Quac

Faculty of Animal Husbandry and Vet. Medicine, Cantho University, Haugiang, Vietnam

 

Summary

In three experiments, multinutritional cakes were fed to: 10 straw-fed working buffaloes in the dry season and 10 straw- and grass-fed working buffaloes in the rainy season of 1990; 20 straw- and grass-fed working cattle in the dry and rainy season of 1991; and 9 young buffaloes fed rice straw, grass and fresh sugar cane bagasse in 1991. Comparable unsupplemented groups of buffaloes and cattle were used as controls for each experiment. During a month at the end of the dry season the liveweight change of the supplemented buffaloes was 13.93.9 compared to -8.41.4 kg for the control (P<0.001). At the beginning of the rainy season the comparable data were -1.84.4 and - 12.01.7 kg, respectively (P<0.001). Supplemented buffaloes were able to plough a greater area per day, at a faster speed, and with more rapid recovery of normal pulse and respiration rate after working. During a 3 month period, the liveweight change of growing young buffaloes was 25.585.32 with urea-molasses cake supplementation compared to 13.977.40 kg for the control (P<0.01). It was concluded that the multinutritional cake supported a good health and working capacity of native cattle and buffaloes under harsh conditions of shortages of feed and water. The cake was applauded by local farmers.

KEY WORDS: Urea-molasses cakes, buffaloes, cattle, ploughing, supplementation, crop residues

Introduction

Native cattle and buffaloes are very important for food production in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. They are commonly reared by rural farmers all over the Delta, but the development is limited due to lack of grass and drinking water in the most saline parts, and even other areas during long dry seasons. The animals have to consume rice stubble in the paddies, with supplementation of rice straw or grass at night. Concentrate feeds are not generally used because of the high cost. Persistent malnutrition and hard work cause them to lose weight and eventually to succumb to illness (Thu et al 1987: Thu and Tham 1990).

A study entitled 2 Effect of molasses-urea cake on performance of growing and working local buffaloes and cattle fed low nutritive value diets was made by researchers at the University of Cantho on small farms in Hauging and Angiang province as well as at the Hoa An sulphate-acid soil research center in a attempt to improve the situation concerning working capacity and meat production of native cattle and buffaloes in the region.

 

Materials and methods

The first study comprised three experiments, the first one carried out on adult buffaloes at Thanh Tri district of Haugiang province in 1990. The first of the two smaller experiments was carried out during the latter part of the dry season, when the buffaloes were free of work, and the second at the beginning of the rainy season when they were worked heavily. Ten buffaloes were used in the experimental group, and ten as controls in each of the smaller experiments.

The second study was carried out on adult cattle in Tinh Bien district of An Giang province in 1991, and was similar to the first experiment.

Molasses-urea cakes used in the experiments contained (%): "B" molasses 37.9; urea 7.6; coconut oil meal 7.5; salt 3.8; rice bran 39.4; bone meal 3.8, and trace minerals 0.15. They were moulded into 1.4 kg cakes and given to the experimental cattle and buffaloes in the normal form or in the form of a thick solution with drinking water, as mash sprinkled on straw, or as a wet slop administered orally via a bamboo (700 g per animal daily). Especially in the beginning of the rainy season the animals were given cake 7 days before entering ploughing schedule. All experiments lasted for one month. A detailed description of "B" molasses is given in FAO (1992).

The third study was carried out on young buffaloes at the Hoa An Sulphate-Acid Soil Research Center, and lasted for three months. 18 young buffaloes (2-3 years old) were allocated to the experiment, 9 used as controls and 9 given the cakes, which contained (%): "B" molasses 39.65; urea 7.74; coconut oil meal 7.34; salt 3.67; rice bran 23.49; maize 14.48; bone meal 3.34 and trace minerals 0.15. The experimental group was given 700 g cake per animal daily.

The experimental criteria recorded included changes in liveweight, erythrocyte count, pulse, respiration rate, ploughing area and speed, grazing time and amount of straw consumed. A total of thirty four farmers participated in the trials.

 

Results and discussion

In experiment 1a of the first study, during the dry season, buffaloes were fed solely stubble supplemented with small amounts of rice straw at night. In experiment 1b, carried out at the start of the rainy season, buffaloes took advantage of certain amount of grass but also relied mostly on rice straw, with added straw at night. They had to drink acid sulphate water and to work very hard on land preparation.

Daily grazing duration of the control and experimental buffaloes was 9.68 and 9.97 hours, respectively, in experiment 1a and 7.50 and 7.55 hours in experiment 1b.

The amount of supplementary straw given to the control buffaloes was 6.50 kg a day at the start and 7.56 kg a day at the end of experiment 1a; while the quantity consumed by the cake-fed buffaloes was 6.60 kg a day at the start, and 8.60 kg at the end of the experiment. In experiment 1b the consumption of the straw was not able to be recorded because the straw was wet and spoiled. Observations were as follows:

Table 1: Changes in live weight and other physiological values of buffaloes in experiment 1a (dry season; not working)
Criteria Control Cake-fed Prob
Liveweight, kg      
At start 354 381  
After 1 month 346 395  
Change -8.4 13.9 <0.001
Erythrocyte count, mill/ml      
At start 6.129 6.159  
After 1 month 5.708 6.435  
Change -0.421 0.276 <0.001
Pulse, beats/min      
At start 42.3 41.1  
After 1 month 45.4 39.6  
Change 3.1 -1.5 <0.001
Respiration rate, beats/min      
At start 17.8 18.5  
After 1 month 19.7 18.3  
Change 1.9 -0.2 <0.001

 

The results of experiment 1a showed that in the dry season, even though not working, the buffaloes were so underfed that their physiology was below the maintenance level, as reflected in weight loss, sub-normal erythrocyte count and elevation in pulse and respiration rates. They responded very well to supplementation by the cakes, as shown by the improvements in liveweight and standard physiological values (Table 1).

In experiment 1b, carried out at the beginning of the wet season, the feeding conditions were better, but as the buffaloes had to work harder their health deteriorated in both groups. However, cake supplementation once again proved to have a positive effect and improved the physical condition and physiology of the buffaloes. When work was limited to 164 - 172 min. per day with a work pattern of four working days followed by a free day, buffaloes in experiment 1b also showed improvements in their working capacity and condition when given the cakes (Table 2).

 

Table 2. Changes in live weight, physiological values and ploughing capacity of buffaloes in experiment 1b; wet season working)
Criteria Control Cake-fed Prob
Liveweight, kg      
At start 345.9 372.0  
After 1 month 333.9 370.2  
Change -12.0 -1.8 < 0.001
Erythrocyte count, mill/ml      
At start 5.708 6.316  
After 1 month 5.590 6.491  
Change -0.118 0.175 < 0.001
Pulse, beats/ min.      
At start 45.4 40.8  
After 1 month 47.8 41.7  
Change 2.4 0.9 > 0.05
Respiration rate, beats/min      
At start 19.7 19.8  
After 1 month 20.8 20.6  
Change 1.1 0.8 > 0.05
Ploughed area, m2/pair/day      
At start 1,919.2 2,243.0  
After 1 month 1,508.4 2,141.2  
Change -410.8 -101.8 < 0.001
Ploughing speed, m/min.      
At start 35.73 43.50  
After 1 month 31.53 40.70  
Change -4.20 -2.80 < 0.001
Recovery time, min.      
At start 13.7 11.9  
After 1 month 16.1 12.7  
Change 2.4 0.8 < 0.05

 

In the experiment 2a of the second study, the experimental cattle consumed 12.3"3.6 kg of fresh straw and 15.6"3.56 kg grass per day. The control group consumed 6.3"1.11 kg/d of fresh straw and 15.6"1.26 kg/d grass. In experiment 2b the supplemented cattle consumed daily 6.8"1.93 kg of fresh straw and 15.1"3.2 kg grass, and the controls 6.3 "1.27 and 16.0"2.1 kg/d, respectively in the first 7 days of the experiment. On the following days, they were fed 36.2"2.02 and 28.5"1.58 grass respectively, because straw was no longer available.

In experiment 2a, at the end of the dry season cattle were still fed grass by the farmers, so they were in good health. Nevertheless, the cake also had positive effects on liveweight and the erythrocyte counts of the cattle (Table 3).

Table 3: Changes in liveweight and other physiological values of cattle in experiment 2a
Criteria Control Cake-fed Probab
Liveweight, kg      
At start 244.3 248.5  
After 1 month 245.7 265.3  
Change 1.4 16.8 < 0.001
Erythrocyte count, mill/ml      
At start 6.520 6.457  
After 1 month 6.544 7.361  
Change -0.024 0.904 < 0.001
Pulse, beats/min.      
At start 69.3 70.8  
After 1 month 70.8 69.9  
Change 1.5 -0.9 > 0.05
Respiration rate, beats/min      
At start 27.2 26.4  
After 1 month 27.7 26.8  
Change 0.5 0.4 > 0.05

 

In experiment 2b, working and feeding conditions were better then those in experiment 1b as cattle ploughed lighter land and were fed grass ad libitum. So their liveweight losses and decrease in erythrocyte counts were small in the control group. However, the molasses-urea cake also showed positive effects on liveweight, ploughing capacity and other physiological values (Table 4).

In the third experiment the young buffaloes were fed in their stalls and allowed to bathe twice a day in the canal. Rice straw and sugarcane bagasse were provided semi-ad libitum, with a limit of 10 kg per animal daily. The experiment lasted for three months. The results were as follows : rice straw consumption was 3.51"0.47 kg/d, as compared to 3.79"0.20 kg/d for the control group (P>0.05) and fresh sugarcane bagasse consumption was 0.513"0.097 kg/d vs. 0.476"0.095 kg/d (P < 0.05) for the control group.

During the course of experiment 3, it could be clearly seen that the cake improved liveweight and erythrocyte counts of the young buffaloes. Both groups showed decreases in pulse and respiration rate, these being greater in the experimental group than in the control (Table 5 ).

On finishing the experiment, two buffaloes from each of the two groups were selected for slaughter, such that their liveweights and body condition were near the average for their respective groups. Slaughter values are shown in Table 6.

Table 4: Changes in liveweight, physiological values and ploughing capacity of the cattle in the experiment 2b
Criteria Control Cake-fed Probab
Liveweight, kg      
At start 252.7 257.3  
After 1 month 248.6 267.5  
Change -4.1 10.2 < 0.001
Erythrocyte count, 10^6/ml      
At start 6.440 6.458  
After 1 month 6.383 6.848  
Change -0.057 0.390 < 0.001
Pulse, beats/min.      
At start 69.0 69.3  
After 1 month 70.5 67.8  
Change 1.5 -1.5 < 0.01
Respiration rate, beats/min      
At start 27.3 26.6  
After 1 month 28.6 27.2  
Change 1.3 0.6 > 0.05
Ploughed area, m2/pair/day      
At start 1,410 1,400  
After 1 month 1,300 1,860  
Change -110 460 < 0.001
Ploughing speed, m/min.      
At start 32.918 33.406  
After 1 month 30.280 43.060  
Change -2.638 9.654 < 0.001
Recovery time, min.      
At start 22.6 21.0  
After 1 month 25.6 16.6  
Change 3.0 -4.4 < 0.001

 

 

In Tables 6 and 7 it can be seen that the organs of the experimental buffaloes are clearly different from the controls in terms of weight as well as their appearance. In particular, heart, liver and kidneys of the experimental buffaloes were more developed than the controls, although further studies are needed to determine the mechanisms involved.

Molasses-urea cake supplementation of native cattle and buffaloes brought about increases in ploughing area and speed of ploughing. Compared to the previous trials on nitrogen and mineral supplementation in the form of loose mash and licking blocks (Thu et al 1987; Khuyen 1988; Kieu 1988; Ngan 1988), the experiments produced more satisfactory results because of the improved composition, nutrient content and palatability of the cakes, as well as simple usage suited to local cattle and buffaloes in more isolated villages.

Table 5: Changes in liveweight and other physiological values of the young buffaloes in experiment 3
Criteria Control Cake-fed Probab
Liveweight, kg      
At start 254.00 250.11  
After 1 month 267.97 275.69  
Change 13.97 25.58 < 0.01
Erythrocyte count, mill/ml      
At start 6.0 5.205  
After 1 month 5.964 6.377  
Change -0.056 1.172 < 0.001
Hematocrit, %      
At start 27.55 26.06  
After 1 month 28.11 30.0  
Change 0.55 3.94 < 0.01
Respiration rate, beats/min      
At start 21.55 22.66  
After 1 month 20.66 19.55  
Change -0.89 -3.11 < 0.01
Pulse, beats/min.      
At start 42.22 42.66  
After 1 month 40.66 38.88      
Change -1.56 -3.78 < 0.05      

 

 

Table 6:Carcass, internal organ and offal weights of young buffaloes in experiment 3
  Control Cake-fed
Criteria kg % kg %
Live weight 251.0 100.0 260.0 100.0
Carcass 107.0 42.63 110.0 42.69
Shrinkage 14.12 5.62 17.48 6.72
Lungs 3.15 1.25 3.53 1.36
Heart 1.35 0.54 1.57 0.60
Liver 3.60 1.51 4.70 1.80
Kidneys 0.73 0.29 ? ?
Skeletal muscle* 36.9 71.6 39.4 72.9
Bone* 15.4 27.9 16.7 27.0

* In left half-carcass

 

Conclusion and recomendations

These experiments showed that the molasses-urea cake resulted in significant improvements in health and productivity of native cattle and buffaloes in the Mekong Delta region. Farmers and local authorities appreciated the cake for its value in maintaining the condition of their animals and requested the University to produce and supply them in severe months.

Table 7: Observation on the internal organs of slaughtered buffaloes
Organs   Control Cake-fed
  Colour Normal Darker
Heart Size Normal Bigger
  Aota Normal Bigger
       
  Colour Normal Lighter
Liver Size Normal Developed
  Auricular lobe Normal Less developed
       
  Colour Normal Darker
Kidney Size Normal Developed
  Thickness Normal Thicker
  Lobes Normal Higher superior
      lobe & pointed
      inferior lobe

 

The study needs to be continued with experiments in different seasons and regions on different types of animals, in order to evaluate more correctly the molasses-urea cake. Their value for fattening cattle and buffaloes as a supplement to common local feeds also needs to be determined.

Financial assistance is also essential in establishing an integrated progamme to promote molasses-urea cake supplementation in the feeding of cattle and buffaloes to increase food production.

 

References

FAO 1992 Tropical Feeds. FAO Tropical Feeds Database - Version 3.0 (This computerized version of the original (1972) manuscript by Bo Gohl was produced by Oxford Computer Journals (Editor: A W Speedy))

Khuyen L T 1988. Trials on supplementing dairy goats with nitrogen and minerals. Undergraduate thesis. Fac. of Ani. Husbandry and Vet. Medicine of Cantho University, Vietnam.

Kieu L T N 1988. Trials on supplementing dairy cattle with nitrogen and minerals. Undergraduate thesis. Fac. of Ani. Husbandry and Vet. Medicine of Cantho University, Vietnam.

Ngan T H 1988. Trials on supplementing young cattle with nitrogen and minerals. Thesis. Fac. of Ani. Husbandry and Vet. Medicine of Cantho University, Vietnam.

Thu N V et al 1987. Breed characteristics and productivities of local buffaloes in Mekong Delta of Vietnam. In: The conference of animal production in the South of Vietnam and poster section of the Second World Buffalo Congress in India Dec. 1988.

(Received 1 Februay 1993)