Livestock Research for Rural Development

Volume 10, Number 2, 1998

Abstracts of Livestock Research for Rural  Development
Volume 10, Number 2, 1998


Digestion and N metabolism in Mong Cai and Large White pigs having free access to sugar cane juice or ensiled cassava root supplemented with duckweed or ensiled cassava leaves

Nguyen Van Lai and Lylian Rodriguez

Finca Ecologica, University of Tropical Agriculture, Thu Duc, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam


It is envisaged that traits which facilitate more efficient use of by-product and vegetative feeds will become increasingly important as the role of livestock in farming system changes from that of a specialized producer of animal protein to a more synergistic one of optimizing total resource utilization. The following experiment, which measured digestibility and N retention parameters in Mong Cai and Large White pigs given diets based on local feed resources, is part of a long term study to define more precisely the role of livestock as components of the overall farming system.

Four male piglets of each breed (range of liveweight 7-9 kg for Mong Cai and 8-10 kg for Large White) were housed in metabolism cages made of bamboo for four consecutive periods of 10 days during which they received, according to a Latin Square arrangement, dietary combinations of: sugar cane juice or ensiled cassava root in each case with either fresh duck weed or ensiled cassava leaves as the protein supplement. In each 10 day period the first five days were for adaptation to the diet and the last five for determination of digestibility and nitrogen retention.

There were no significant interactions among dietary treatments. There were no differences in daily dry matter intake nor in apparent dry matter digestibility due to the sources of protein, energy or breed of pig. The differences between protein sources approached significance (P = 0.07) for the relative amounts eaten of each protein source, with higher values observed for for duckweed (accounting for 36% of diet dry matter) than for ensiled cassava leaves (29% of diet dry matter). The diet consumed by the pigs contained more protein in the dry matter (11.4%) when duckweed was fed compared with ensiled cassava leaf (10.3%). This trait was not affected by the source of energy nor by breed of pig.

N digestibility was higher (P = 0.06) when duckweed, rather than ensiled cassava leaves, was the protein source. N retention as a percent of N intake was high for both protein sources with higher values (P = 0.02) for the duckweed diets (52%) than for diets with ensiled cassava leaves (44%). N digestibility and N retention were not affected by energy source nor by breed. The total daily dry matter intake and the proportion of the dry matter digested was not affected by any of the treatments.

The efficient use of the dietary nitrogen on all diets implies that both duck weed and ensiled cassava leaves have a good array of the essential amino acids needed for growth, with the advantage slightly in favour of the duck weed. There there were no apparent differences between the local and the exotic breed in their capacity to digest and utilize the different combinations of local feed resources.

Key words: Pigs, digestibility, N retention, sugar cane juice, ensiled cassava roots, duckweed, ensiled cassava leaves, local and exotic breeds.


Evaluation of Leucaena leucocephala and cactus (Opuntia sp.) as forages for growing rabbits

C A Ruiz-Feria*#, S D Lukefahr*## and P Felker**

*Department of Animal & Wildlife Sciences and **Center for Semi-Arid Forest Resources, Texas A&M, University-Kingsville, TX 78363, USA
#Present address: University of Arkansas, O-419 Poultry Science Center, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA.
##Corresponding author: Steven D. Lukefahr, Department of Animal & Wildlife Sciences, Campus Box 156, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, TX 78363, USA; phone: (512)593-3699; FAX: (512)593-3788; e-mail:


Leucaena leucocephala and cactus (Opuntia sp.) were evaluated as forages for rabbits based on growth, feed utilization, gastrointestinal tract (GIT) development, and carcass traits. A total of 64 purebred Altex and New Zealand White weanling rabbits were fed for 42 d. Experimental diets were 100, 90, 80 or 70% commercial pellets with corresponding levels of 0, 10, 20 or 30% leucaena leaves (dry matter basis), fed either with or without cactus offered ad libitum.

Weekly growth response slopes varied by diet but not breed. Control rabbits (100% pellets fed ad libitum with and without cactus) had improved average daily gains by 9.0 g/d (P<0.01), reached 1,800 g minimum market weight earlier by 6.5 d (P<0.05), and had heavier 42-d final weights by 371 g (P<0.01) than rabbits fed leucaena with and without cactus. In general, cactus did not significantly influence any of the traits studied. Pellet and gross (pellet plus forage) feed intake performance in control versus forage-fed pens depended on whether cactus was included in the diets (P<0.05). However, independent of the cactus effect, conversion of gross feed to total gains was improved in control versus forage-fed pens (P<0.01). Rabbits fed 10% leucaena (with and without cactus) had higher pellet and gross feed intake levels (P<0.01), whereas no differences existed between 20 and 30% leucaena diets. Rabbits on the 20 and 30% leucaena with cactus diets numerically consumed the least quantity of pellets per unit of body gain. Control animals had 2.0% higher carcass (P<0.05), 0.85% lower GIT (P<0.01), and 0.14% lower stomach (P=0.07) weights as percentages of pre-slaughter weight than animals fed 30% leucaena with and without cactus. Carcass and GIT traits were similar between control animals fed only pellets and those fed pellets and cactus (P>0.05). Rabbits fed 30% leucaena with cactus had 2.7% higher carcass weight (P<0.05) and tended to have 1.0% higher pelt weight (P<0.10) compared to those fed 30% leucaena without cactus. Breeds were not different for growth, GIT and carcass traits (P>0.05).

No signs of hair loss or discolored livers or urine due to possible mimosine toxicity were observed in 30% leucaena-fed rabbits. Hence, it is recommended for small-scale producers that the feeding level of leucaena (within a 0 to 30% range) should depend on economics in terms of realized feed cost savings in relation to growth response.

Key words: Rabbits, Leucaena leucocephala; cactus (Opuntia stricta), growth, feed utilization, carcass traits

Effect of ammonium bicarbonate treatment and rapeseed meal supplementation on growth rate of Huzhou lambs receiving rice straw

J X Liu, Z M Chen, J Q Yu*, B R Fei*, W D Wang and J F Zhang

Zhejiang Agricultural University, Hangzhou 310029, P R China
*Tongxiang Animal Production Station, Tongxiang 314501, P R China


Seventy-two growing Huzhou lambs were used in a 2 x 4 factorial design to determine the effect of ammoniation (10% ammonium bicarbonate) of rice straw (RS) and rapeseed meal (RSM) supplementation on productive performance. The lambs were given free access to RS or ammoniated RS (ABRS) along with 100 g of rice bran per day per head. The RSM was supplemented at levels of 0, 100, 200 or 300 g/d. Each dietary treatment involved a total of 9 lambs kept in 3 pens. A mineralized salt block and drinking water were freely available at all times. The trial lasted for 60 days, the first 15 days of which were for adaptation. Ammoniation increased the RS intake by about 32%. The dry matter intake of both straws was not affected by RSM supplementation up to 200 g/day but decreased significantly with 300 g/day RSM. Supplementation with RSM increased liveweight gain of sheep offered either RS or ABRS, but the nature of the response differed according the type of straw. In order to obtain a similar daily liveweight gain, larger amounts of RSM were needed for the RS than for ABRS-based diets. This indicates that the benefits of ammoniation of straw are highest when the supplement level is low and least when the supplement level is high. With ammoniated straw, 100 g/day RSM raised liveweight gain from 20 to 63 g/day whereas 200 g/day of RSM had to be supplied to obtain the same liveweight gain with untreated straw.

Key words: Ammoniation, ammonium bicarbonate, rapeseed meal, supplementation, rice straw, intake, daily gain, conversion, Huzhou lambs


Efecto de sitio y fertilización nitrogenada sobre la producción y calidad de la Morera (Morus alba L.)

Efraín Espinosa* y Jorge Benavides

CATIE, Turrialba, Costa Rica
*Escuela de Ciencias Agronómicas, Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas, México.


Se evaluó el efecto del sitio (tres regiones en Costa Rica) y de la fertilización nitrogenada sobre la calidad y la producción de biomasa de tres variedades de Morera (Morus alba). No hubo diferencias relevantes entre variedades en el contenido de materia seca (MS), proteína cruda (N*6.25) y Digestibilidad in vitro de la MS (DIVMS) (29.5, 20.3 y 74,4% de promedio, respectivamente). La producción promedio de MS comestible fue de 6.9, 9.5 y 10.7 toneladas/ha/año para las variedades Criolla, Indonesia y Tigriada, respectivamente. La mayor producción de MS y MS comestible se observó en la region de Paquera (31.2 y 11.6 toneladas/ha/año, respectivamente). Le siguieron la region de Coronado (15.5 y 8.5 toneladas/ha/año) y de Puriscal (15.2 y 7.1 toneladas/ha/año). La fertilización mejoró la producción pero tuvo poco efecto entre los niveles más altos con las mejores variedades en los mejores sitios. El mayor rendimiento de MS total (42 toneladas/ha/año) fue de la Tigriada en Paquera con 540 kg N/ha/año.

Palabras claves: Morera, Morus alba, rendimiento, proteína, fertilización, localidad, variedad


Use of local carbohydrate sources and a protein supplement by pig farmers in a Colombian village in the Andean Hills

Antonio Solarte, Frands Dolberg* and Elcy Corrales**

Fundación Centro para la Investigación en Sistemas Sostenibles de
Producción Agropecuaria (CIPAV) AA 20591 Cali, Colombia
* Institute of Political Science, University of Arhus, 8000 C - Denmark
** Facultad de Ciencias Economicas y Administrativas. Pontificia Universidad Javeriana
Carrera 7 # 40-90 P.5 Bogota, Colombia


On-farm trials were carried out in two data collection periods to evaluate the performance of growing-fattening pigs fed on local sources of carbohydrates supplemented with 200 g/day of protein from soya bean grain or meal, in both cases enriched with vitamins and minerals. In the first period, four farmers with a total of 33 pigs using the traditional system based on concentrates provided base line data. In addition, the use of sugar cane juice (SCJ) and soya bean cooked grains on a single farm including 29 animals was evaluated. The growth rate was calculated by linear regression from data of the live weight of the animals , which was recorded every 14 days, and used as a response variable in a model that included the effect of the farm as a variation factor. This effect was found to be significant (P<0.05). The means for daily gain (g/day) on the farms using the traditional system based on commercial concentrates ranged from 527 up to 623 g/day, while on the farm with SCJ daily gain was 427 g/day. In the second period a revolving research fund was established and the experimental diets evaluated were based on sources of carbohydrates available on each farm and the use of 500 g of a protein supplement (40% protein) from soya bean meal. In this period, growth rate of the animals was calculated as described above and the effect of farm and diet were included as variation factors in the variance analysis. Both factors were found to be significant (P<0.05) for daily gain. The adjusted means for daily gain on the different diets were: commercial concentrate (baseline data, 20 animals in 4 farms) 567 g/day; SCJ (24 animals in 2 farms) 518 g/day; plantain and bananas (8 animals in a single farm) 367 g/day, and for farm and kitchen wastes and residues (24 animals in 4 farms) 512 g/day.

It was concluded that protein is the main limiting factor and it was recommended that work in this area be given the highest priority. The fact that the farmers were willing to repay 8.5 % above the value of the inputs borrowed indicates their willingness to participate in further research, and the constructive role that a revolving research fund can play to facilitate on-farm livestock research.

Keywords: On-farm, pigs, revolving research fund, feeds, protein, fodder trees and shrubs.


The production of milk from dairy herds in the suburban conditions of Mexico City: II. The case of the Region of Xochimilco in the South-East of the City

H Losada, R Bennett*, J Cortes, J Vieyra**, L Arias, R Soriano and Z Avaleta.

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. Iztapalapa C.P. 09340 Mexico D.F.
*Researcher from U.K. sponsored by the interchange CONACYT-British Council.
**Area of Environment of Agricultural Systems. Department of Agricultural and Animal Production. Division of Biological and Health Sciences. Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana- Xochimilco. Av. del Hueso 11000. Col. Villaquietud. Tlalpan C.P. 04960. México D.F.


A survey was carried out to study dairy systems in the region of Xochimilco. Small dairy farms are usually located next or within the owner`s house, with 66% using the labour of one family. A high percentage of the producers is literate (97%) and does not belong to any dairy association (84%) and their level of schooling is distributed as follows: primary school (47%) and secondary school (41%). Mean number of animals was eleven per owner. The majority of cows were Holstein. A significant number of the producers retain the calves for fattening (78%). The feeding system is based on 15 components including polished wheat, maize stubble, natural grasses, ground maize and a commercial concentrate. The system for milking cows is manual, with a reported mean value of 240 days per lactation and a daily milk production of 15 litres per animal. Common diseases reported were mastitis, pneumonia, bloat and rotten hoof, treated by means of specific medicines (64%) or home made treatments (26%) and human medicines (10%). Most of the milk obtained is sold at the dairy farm (57%) although there is a significative proportion (40%) which is sold in the houses of consumers. The low number of animals in these dairy farms is due to the restricted availability of forages which gives them the feature of mixed systems of agriculture-dairy farms.

Key words: Milk production, small scale, farming system.


Socio-economic aspects of smallholder dairying in Zimbabwe

B T Hanyani-Mlambo, S Sibanda and V Østergaard*

University of Zimbabwe, PO Box MP 167, Mt. Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe
* Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, PO Box 50, DK-8830, Tjele, Denmark


Focus on agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa has seen a shift towards the smallholder sector which is home and employment provider to more than 70 percent of the population. However, on-the-ground realities and the viability status of enterprises within this sector remain largely un-probed research areas. This article, which is based on case studies of three dairy development projects in Zimbabwe, presents results of a socio-economic analysis of the real state, constraints and opportunities vis à vis the performance of the smallholder dairy sector. Through a Gross Margin Analysis at farm level, the study established that smallholder dairying in Zimbabwe is hardly viable. Identified constraints to production include labour bottlenecks, an inadequate feed base, poor breeding practices and production inefficiencies. However, problems arising from limited markets, narrow product bases, recurrent droughts and stringent economic reforms have had more devastating effects on viability in the smallholder dairy sector. Established opportunities for improvement include the production and utilization of home-grown feeds, appropriate mechanization, use of a controlled and well targeted breeding programme, aiming at economic and efficient production, as well as the re-integration of technical and socio-economic issues in rural development programmes in order to achieve sustained rural development.

Key words: Zimbabwe, small-holder dairying, constraints, socio-economics


Ensiled and dried peanut haulm as replacement of concentrate for crossbred heifers fed poor quality forages

Bui Xuan An,

University of Agriculture and Forestry, HoChiMinh City, Vietnam


Twenty four crossbred heifers, given forages of low nutritive value, were divided equally into 3 groups with different supplements: CONC., 1 kg/d concentrate; SILAGE, 2 kg DM/d ensiled peanut haulm; DRY, 2 kg DM/d dry peanut haulm. The experiment period was 120 days. DM intakes were 5.12, 5.82, and 5.79 kg/d, and live weight gains were: 107, 195, 230 g/d, for treatments CONC., SILAGE and DRY, respectively.

Key words: Peanut haulm, ensile, dry, cattle, growth.


Effects of vitamin C supplementation of a diet for 0-4 week old chicks on the absorption of calcium and phosphorus

Vu Duy Giang and Bui Huu Doan

Faculty of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Hanoi Agricultural University, Gialam, Hanoi, Vietnam


An experiment was carried out to determine the effectiveness of vitamin C supplementation on health and the contents of Ca and P in the tibia bone of the chick. Chicks from 0-4 weeks of age were allocated into two groups, each consisting of 560 heads. The control group was fed on a basal diet supplemented with a preparation of vitamins A, D, and E; the experimental group was fed on the same basal diet supplemented with vitamins A, D, and E, plus vitamin C at a dose of 150 ppm. The housing, management, nutritional and sanitary conditions were the same for the two groups. It was found that the supplementation with vitamin C did not significantly affect the growth rate, but reduced the mortality and incidence of food abnormality, increased the contents of Ca and P in the tibia bone of 21 day old chicks.

Key words: chicks, vitamin C, diets, supplementation, Ca, P

The need for improved utilisation of rice straw as feed for ruminants in Vietnam, An overview

Nguyen Xuan Trach

Department of Animal Production, Hanoi Agricultural University, Gialam, Hanoi, Vietnam.


Ruminant production plays an important part in the predominantly agricultural economy of Vietnam, especially in mixed animal-crop production systems. In addition to providing meat and milk for human consumption, large ruminants essentially provide draft power and manure for crop production. These animals themselves largely rely on crop residues as feed. The scarcity of land and the trend of sustainable agricultural development in the highly populated country necessitate better utilisation of crop residues in general and rice straw in particular for ruminant feeding. Although rice straw produced every year is plentiful, the amount a ruminant can consume is not sufficient to sustain a reasonable level of production due to its low nutritive value. Therefore, rice straw has not been maximally utilised for ruminant production yet. Suitable treatment techniques in combination with nutrient supplementation could result in improved utilisation of rice straw with better benefits. Despite recent local research in this field, no methods for improved utilisation of straw are practically applied by farmers in the country, probably because none has proved to be relevant and sustainable under the local physical and socio-economic conditions. Further studies are therefore needed to develop acceptable straw feeding systems.

Key words: rice straw, treatment, supplement, ruminants, Vietnam

Go to top