Livestock Research for Rural Development

Volume 11, Number 3, 1999

Abstracts of papers in LRRD, Volume 11, Number 3

Animals and values in society

John Hodges 

Lofererfeld 16, A-5730 Mittersill, Austria

This paper examines the role that animals have played in the development of civilization, enabling  humanity steadily to rise from primitive conditions to life of higher quality. Large domestic animals made possible the move from hunting, gathering and shifting cultivation to more settled life styles.

It is argued that we have lost touch with the values that our ancestors learned from their animals. Under the influence of science and market economy pressures, values in Western society have lost the holistic approach. It is time to look back to our history and give more respect to the lessons from animals that were key guides to our ancestors on the meaning of wholeness and sustainability.

Wholeness and Sustainability are not negative restrictions on the good life. They are Quality of Life experiences not provided by the search for endless and greater material prosperity. Current values in Western society are divorced from real and long-term meaning and, pursued in singleness of mind, are unable alone to deliver Quality Life. Our present route is not only inequitable; it lacks quality; and it is unsustainable. We must change - or unpleasant change will be forced upon us and our children. We truly miss the animals and the lessons our ancestors learned from them.

Key words: Animals, society, sustainability, equity

Supplementing rice by-products with foliage of Trichanthera gigantea in diets of growing and lactating pigs and fattening ducks

Nguyen Thi Hong Nhan and Nguyen Van Hon

Department of Animal Husbandry, College of Agriculture, Cantho University, Vietnam

Experiments were carried out with lactating sows, growing-fattening pigs and fattening ducks to evaluate the use of the fresh leaves of T. gigantea  as a supplement to traditional diets based on rice bran and broken rice. The experiments with pigs were done in the homesteads of collaborating farmers who already were growing and using T. gigantea as feed. The experiment with ducks was done on a private farm close to Cantho University. 

Average intakes of fresh leaves were:  4.2 and  3.6 for lactating sows (Large White *  Baxuyen [local]) and fattening pigs (same type of crossbred) equivalent to 130 and  112 g/crude protein/head/day, respectively.  Performance (litter size and weights for the sows and growth rate of fattening pigs) was the same on diets with and T.gigantea. Pigs offered T. gigantea leaves ate less concentrates than the controls and feed costs were significantly lower.

For the experiment with Muscovy ducks (age range 30 to 90 days) , fish meal or soya bean were omitted from the concentrate (the control diet contained 10% of each)  when T gigantea . leaves were fed.  Average intakes of leaves were 61 g/day  for ducks fed the diet without fish meal  and 66 g/day when the soya bean meal was omitted. Concentrate intakes were similar on all diets as was growth rate.  Feed costs were lower for both diets containing T. gigantea. The skin and fat of the carcasses of ducks fed T. gigantea leaves were more pigmented (yellow rather than white) a characteristic appreciated by local consumers.

Comparing results with reports from the Cauca Valley in Colombia, from where the T. gigantea originated, it appears that nutritive value was higher for the T. gigantea grown in the Mekong delta.  It is suggested that the ecosystem in the delta (1,200 to 2,000mm rainfall and high humidity) was more favourable for rapid growth of the T. gigantea (resulting in higher nutritive value) than the ecosystem in Colombia (less than 1,000 mm rainfall and lower humidity).

The growing and utilization of T. gigantea by farmers in the Mekong delta has increased rapidly since the introduction of the tree in 1991.  From the three stem cuttings imported in 1991 it is estimated that the trees are now grown and used by more than 1,000 farmers in South Vietnam.  

Key words: T. gigantea, lactating pigs, growing pigs, fattening ducks, nutritive value

Rumen environment and feed degradability in swamp buffaloes fed different supplements

Nguyen Van Thu and T R Preston*

College of Agriculture, Cantho University, Vietnam
* University of  Tropical Agriculture Foundation, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Two experiments of Latin square design were carried out to investigate the effect of different supplements on the rumen environment and rumen degradability of local feeds in swamp buffaloes fitted with rumen fistulas. In Experiment 1 the four diets were: untreated rice straw ad libitum (R); 3.5 kg/day urea-treated rice straw plus untreated rice straw ad libitum  (RUTS);  untreated rice straw ad libitum and 450 g/day of a urea-molasses cake (RUMC);  untreated rice straw ad libitum and 2 kg/day of fresh leaves of  Sesbania grandiflora (RSES).  In Experiment 2, the diets were: rice straw ad libitum supplemented with natural grass (0.25%  animal live weight, DM basis) (RG); rice straw ad libitum supplemented with grass (0.25% animal live weight based on DM basis) and 700 g/day urea-molasses cake (RGUMC); natural grass ad libitum (G);   and natural grass ad libitum and 700 g/day urea-molasses cake (GUMC). The adaptation period of the animals for each diet was ten days, then the measurements were taken in the four consecutive days.

In experiment 1, rumen N-NH3 concentration, bacteria and protozoa populations, and feed dry matter intake, were significantly higher on the combination of Sesbania grandiflora  leaves and untreated rice straw than for all other treatments.  In experiment 2,  supplementation of a combination of rice straw and grass with the urea-molasses cake led to increases in rumen ammonia, in protozoal and bacterial populations and in feed intake.  The buffaloes lost weight on the basal diet  and gained weight with the UMC supplementation (P=0.07).  These effects were less pronounced when the basal diet was only grass. There were no apparent effects on the rate of rumen degradation of  rice straw and water hyacinth when rice straw was supplemented with grass or a urea-molasses cake.

Key words: Swamp buffaloes, urea-molasses cake, rice straw, grasses, Sesbania grandiflora, rumen environment, rumen degradation.  

The influence of urban tourism on household agriculture:
The rabbit as a new guest in the southeast of the metropolitan area of Mexico City

M Lopez, H Losada, S Sandoval, R Bennett*, L Arias, J Rangel, R Soriano and J Cortés

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. CP 09340. México DF
* Researcher from the United Kingdom sponsored by the CONACYT-British Council exchange programme.

A questionnaire survey was applied to characterise the production system of rabbits in family households in the southeast of the metropolitan area of Mexico City. The study encompassed rabbit producers, weekly markets where the animals are traded as well as the tourist corridors where rabbit meat is sold in a range of meals. The mean number of rabbits found in the households was 9, though a range between 1 to 49 was encountered. The breeds preferred by the producers were: New Zealand (28%), California (21%), Giant (19%) and Criollo (19%), whilst Chinchilla and Rex, which are breeds valued for their pelt, were reared in 8% of the households. The feeding system included a wide range of products: fresh Lucerne, commercial feed, tortilla, maize, wheat bran, native grasses, household wastes among others. Household consumption was the most common reported objective of rabbit production, though 68% reported selling the animals, thus contributing to family income. The system is discussed in terms of the important role played by rabbit meat as a dish within the tourist corridor, which has stimulated production, as well as the characteristics of production and sale particular to urban agriculture, and contribution to sustainability.

Key words: Rabbits, households, urban agriculture, tourism

Analysis of the growth and nutritional characteristics of Lablab purpureus

Andrea M Murphy*, Pablo E Colucci* and Mario R Padilla**

* University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada
** Escuela Nacional de Agricultura, Catacamas, Honduras

The growth curve and nutritional characteristics of the tropical legume Lablab purpureus were determined to evaluate its potential as a forage in the American tropics. The study was conducted during the dry season at the Escuela Nacional de Agricultura in the Olancho region of Honduras (November 1996 to May 1997). Using a Completely Randomised Block Design the experimental field was divided into 4 blocks, with 10 parcels corresponding to the treatments (days post germination, dpg) within each block. Samples were taken approximately every 15 days from 13 dpg to 146 dpg. At each collection date dry matter (DM) yield data was estimated and individual plants were separated into leaf, petiole, stem and reproductive parts to estimate botanical composition and nutritional characteristics (crude protein, CP; neutral detergent fibre, NDF; acid detergent fibre, ADF; acid detergent lignin, ADL and in vitro dry matter digestibility IVDMD) of each plant fraction.

Cumulative rainfall during the trial was 212 mm, but there were two accidental floods at 85 and 112 dpg which appeared to have had an effect on the plant CP and fibre profiles. The lablab plants grew well throughout the experiment, yielding 4.7 tonnes of DM/ha at 117 dpg (DM yield = 0.168 - 0.014dpg + 0.00045dpg2; R2 = 0.75, n = 56). The leaf to stem (stem + petiole) ratio varied quadratically with maturity (Y = 4.55 - 0.069dpg + 0.0003dpg2; R2 = 0.78, n = 56), with maximum (2.55) and minimum (0.72) values at 28 dpg and 101 dpg respectively.

Average CP content (on a DM basis) in the whole lablab plant and its botanical fractions varied as follows: whole plant, 14.8% (101 dpg) to 21.0% (46 dpg); leaf, 21.4% (88 dpg) to 30.3% (135 dpg); petiole, 10.1% (88 dpg) to 12.6% (45 dpg) and stem, 8.0% (135 dpg) to 11.8% (45 dpg). As the plant matured the protein content decreased until approximately 100 dpg, after which increased until the end of the experiment. The fibre fractions (ADF, NDF, and ADL) followed an inverse pattern, increasing until 100 dpg and subsequently decreasing. The relationship between the IVDMD (of whole plant and botanical fractions) and dpg, followed patterns analogous to those of CP and inverse to those of fibre fractions. After reaching minimum values at 73 dpg, the IVDMD of plant fractions increased. Consequently, IVDMD values of the leaf and petiole fractions at 45 dpg did not differ from those at 146 dpg (P>0.05). Minimum and maximum IVDMD values were: whole plant, 59.0% (73 dpg) and 67.1% (45 dpg); leaf, 64.6% (73dpg) and 72.9% (117 dpg); petiole, 65.6% (73 dpg) and 71.6% (88 dpg) and stem, 51.6% (73 dpg) and 61.1% (45 dpg).

Based on the high protein content of the leaf fraction and the digestibility values of all botanical fractions, it may be concluded that lablab is a nutritionally valuable legume resource which should be employed more often in tropical agricultural production systems. Not only it can be used as a protein supplement and to provide maintenance requirements for ruminants, but also for achieving relatively high body weight gains and/or milk production. However, our results suggest that the nutritional characteristics observed were affected by the accidental flooding. Therefore, it would not be prudent to use the data determined for yield and nutritional characteristics after 85 dpg (first flooding) as predictive for lablab grown under completely dry conditions.

Key words: Lablab purpureus, tropical legume, nutritional characteristics, yield, botanical fractions

Nutritional status of family poultry in Bangladesh

Q M E Huque

Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute, Savar, Dhaka-1341, Bangladesh

[Editors' Note: This article was published originally in the First INFPD / FAO Electronic Conference on Family Poultry (Editor:  Gueye Fallou) and is reproduced with the permission of the editors of INFPD and the authors]

The concentrations of major nutrients were determined in crop and gizzard contents of family poultry in different localities and seasons in Bangladesh. In all locations, crude protein content was  higher in summer, in comparison with the two other seasons, but was lower than recommended standards. In all locations the crude fibre content was found to be about double the theoretical minimum standard.  The calcium (Ca) content of the feed  in the different locations was found to be close to the standard requirement for laying hens.  However, phosphorus (P) was deficient implying that there was an imbalanced Ca/P ratio in the feed. The most common feed items found in the crop and gizzard were whole rice grain, boiled rice and vegetable materials. 

Key words: Scavenging poultry, crop contents, nutrient requirements

Observations on family poultry units in parts of Central America and sustainable development opportunities

J G Mallia

Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College,
University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1

[Editors' Note: This article was published originally in the First INFPD / FAO Electronic Conference on Family Poultry (Editor:  Gueye Fallou) and is reproduced with the permission of the editors of INFPD and the authors]

Underdeveloped regions of the outlying coastal Belize, Guatemala and the Mosquitia (Honduras) rely on smallholder 'family' poultry production as their primary source of domestic animal protein, with the domestic fowl being the most widely kept poultry species. The extensive system of management is the most frequent. This system requires minimal costs, but mortalities due to disease and predation are very high, and poultry production is low and irregular. Coastal populations therefore rely heavily on fishing and hunting for animal protein, and few viable forms of poultry product marketing have been developed. Inland indigenous Indians in Guatemala raise large numbers of chickens ('pollo criollo') and turkeys ('pavo criollo'), under extensive or partially confined systems. Widespread and successful marketing of these species is present. Partially confined 'backyard' rearing of chicks until at least six weeks of age, with the associated development of feeding systems based on local products should reduce the markedly high mortalities due to predation. The segregation of turkeys from fowl may also have major impact on reducing turkey and chicken mortalities. Other sustainable interventions, such as disease prevention programmes for several of the outlying communities (Creole, Garifuna) are necessary, albeit challenging. Rural populations in Central America are very receptive to poultry veterinary outreach. A holistic approach using epidemiological studies and multivariate modeling are broad interventions that may have a widespread impact on the sustainable improvement of poultry production.

Key words: Central America, multivariate modeling, poultry epidemiology, sustainable development,  family poultry

Ex Ante Analysis of New Forage Alternatives for Farms with Dual-Purpose Cattle in Peru, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua

Federico Holmann

International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), PO Box 6713, Cali, Colombia

The objective was to perform an ex-ante economic evaluation of new, legume-based forage alternatives available to farmers in Latin American tropical lowlands. These alternatives included grasses of the Brachiaria genus and the legumes Stylosanthes guianensis, Cratylia argentea, and Arachis pintoi. Case studies, involving farmers participating in the CIAT-led Tropileche Consortia convened by ILRI, were conducted in the forest margins of Pucallpa (Peru) and in the hillsides of the dry tropics of Esparza (Costa Rica) and Esquipulas (Nicaragua). A linear programming farm model developed by CIAT to maximize income was used for this analysis. Animal management parameters were based on farm averages at each reference site evaluated so that they represented current management conditions. Similarly, the model incorporated the prices of inputs and products typical of each country. A constant herd size was assumed for all alternatives evaluated. Production costs per kilogram of milk were estimated as the maximum expression of competitiveness, using three cow productivity parameters: the current average production per lactation (800 kg in Peru, 1,000 kg in Nicaragua, and 1,350 kg in Costa Rica); and two postulated parameters: 1,500 kg/lactation and 2,000 kg/lactation. For all forage options, key factors analyzed were (1) milk production costs resulting from implementing each forage alternative; (2) the investment required to establish each option, assuming the same number of milking cows and herd fertility; (3) the feasibility of obtaining credit with a local bank to invest in a forage alternative; and (4) the percentage of pasture area on the farm freed for other uses as a result of establishing one of the forage alternatives.

Results indicated that the forage alternatives evaluated significantly improved the competitiveness of dual purpose farms in the hillsides of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, reducing the cost of producing milk between 13% and 37% with increased stocking rates, releasing up to 36% of area allocated to pastures. However, under current commercial banking conditions (real interest rates of 13% in Costa Rica and 18% in Nicaragua with payback periods of 5 years), the implementation of the options evaluated were not financially viable except for the establishment of Cratyla with sugarcane for dry-season feeding and Stylosanthes for pre-weaned calves. For all options to be implemented with commercial credit, a longer payback period was needed (8-10 years) and lower real interest rates (5-10%). The case of the forest margins of Pucallpa, was different, as none of the forage options evaluated, except Stylosanthes for pre-weaned calves, improved the competitiveness of farms under current management and production conditions due to low milk yields per cow and low proportion of herd in milk, which increased depreciation cost/cow to levels which were not viable. In addition, Pucallpa has an excess supply of forage biomass from a reduced herd inventory during the 80s and a limited fresh milk market which makes adoption of improved forages low attractive by farmers.

Key words: Dual-purpose, cattle, survey, milk production, forage legumes

Producción de Brahman y sus Cruces por Absorción a Guzerá y Nelore en Sabana. 1. Porcentajes de Preñez, Parición, Destete y Disponibilidad a Dieciocho Meses

Jesús Arango, Dieter Plasse, Omar Verde, Hugo Fossi, Rafael Hoogesteijn, Pedro Bastidas y Rafael Rodriguez*

Universidad Central de Venezuela, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Maracay y
*Agroflora C.A. Valencia, Venezuela.

Production of Brahman and its Crosses by Upgrading to Guzerat and Nelore in Savannah. 
1. Pregnancy, Calving and Weaning Rates, and Progeny Alive at Eighteen Months of Age

In order to evaluate the benefit of upgrading Brahman (Br) to Guzerat (G) and Nelore (N) in periodically flooded savannah, during 1976 to 1984 Brahman cows were bred artificially (75 %) or by natural service (NS) to 70 Br (control), 38 G (upgrading) and 65 N (upgrading). Inter se crosses of F1 N x Br were also produced using 37 bulls in NS. Bulls (semen) were selected for high genetic value for 18-month weight in a cooperative genetic program and national and international semen banks. The 13119 coded (1, 0) records for pregnancy (P), calving (C), weaning (W) and progeny alive at 18 months (A18) were analyzed by least squares procedures including in the model the random effects of bull within breed of cow (S : B), and the fixed effects of breed group of cow (B), age of cow (A), year of service (Y) and the B x A interaction. A second model also included the effect of lactation status (L) and the L x A interaction. The most important effect was S : B (P<0.01) for all traits. Year was important for P, W and A18 (P<0.01) and for C (P<0.05). Age of cow was statistically significant for P, C and A18 (P<0.01) and for W (P<0.05). With the second model, L and L x A showed significant effects (P<0.01) for all traits. Unadjusted and adjusted means were 65.4, 61.0; 56.9, 54.9; 53.3, 52.5 and 50.3, 50.0 %, respectively, for P, C, W, and A18. Breed group effects were not significant, but 1/2 G and 1/2 N were superior to Br and 3/4 N and the inter se F1 N x Br were inferior to the control. In conclusion, upgrading of Br to G and N did not improve cow productivity.

Key words: Beef cattle, Brahman, Nellore, Guzerat, crosses, cow traits

Produccion de Brahman y sus Cruces por Absorción a Guzerá y Nelore en Sabana. 2. Pesos al Nacer, Destete y 18 Meses

Jesús Arango, Dieter Plasse, Omar Verde, Hugo Fossi, Rafael Hoogesteijn, Pedro Bastidas y Rafael Rodriguez*

Universidad Central de Venezuela, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Maracay 
*Agroflora C.A. Valencia, Venezuela

Production of Brahman and its Crosses by Upgrading to Guzerat and Nelore in Savannah. 
2. Birth, Weaning and 18-Month Weights

With the object of studying the results of upgrading Brahman (Br) to Guzera (G) and Nelore (N) in periodically flooded savannah, calves of the following breed groups were produced: Br; 1/2 G, 3/4 G; 1/2 N, 3/4 N, 7/8 N and inter se F1 N x Br, progeny of 70 Br (control), 38 G (upgrading), 65 N (upgrading) and 37 inter se F1 N x Br sires, selected in a cooperative genetic program and in national and international semen banks. Records from 7464 birth (BW), 6989 weaning (205W) and 6601 18-month (548W) weights were analyzed by least squares procedures using a linear model that included the random effect of sires within breed group (S : B), and the fixed effects of: breed group (B), sex (S), year (Y) and month (M) of birth, age of dam (A) and the Y x M interaction. Unadjusted and adjusted means were 29.9, 28.6; 150.2, 143.3 and 238.8, 232.5 kg, respectively, for BW, 205W and 548W. All effects were statistically significant (P<0.01). All crossbred calves were lighter than the Br calves (P<0.01). The breed constants for Br, 1/2 G, 3/4 G, 1/2 N, 3/4 N, 7/8 N and F1 N x Br were 2.2; 0.7, 0.4; -0.5, -0.8, -1.3 and -0.6 kg for BW; 7.7; 3.9, 1.2; 2.1, -4.8, -8.3 and -1.8 kg for 205W, and 9.6; 4.5, -5.8; 6.3, -4.0, -9.9, -0.8 kg for 548W. There was a trend towards lower weights in breed groups with an increased proportion of G or N genes. Under the conditions of this study, the upgrading of Br to G or N did not improve growth in relation to Br.

Key words: Beef cattle, Brahman, Guzerat, Nelore, crosses, calf weights


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