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Ruminant Nutrition and Forage Utilization
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2001;14(8): 1090-1097.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2001.1090    Published online August 1, 2001.
The Effect of Replacing Grass with Urea Treated Fresh Rice Straw in Dairy Cow Diet
Ngo Van Man, Hans Wiktorsson
Nine tons of fresh rice straw from early-maturing varieties was ensiled with 50 g urea kg -1 DM straw in plastic bags immediately after threshing. Five months after storage, preserved straw was used to partially replace elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum, Schumach) for lactating cows. Eight crossbred Holstein lactating cows (75% of Holstein blood) in their second to fourth lactation and in mid-lactation were arranged in a balanced design with two squares consisting of 4 periods 4 treatments (100% grass ad lib. as a control; 75% grass+urea treated fresh rice straw (UTrFRS) ad lib.; 50% grass+UTrFRS ad lib.; 25% grass+UTrFRS ad libitum) in one square. A concentrate supplement was given at a rate of 400 g per day per kg of milk produced. Samples of fresh straw taken in the field and UTrFRS and elephant grass taken at feeding time were evaluated in a degradation trial with 3 fistulated heifers (undefined blood ratio of crossbred of Sindhi and local yellow cattle). Straw preserved for 5-9 months was in nearly all cases of good quality. Crude protein (CP) content was increased 2.1 fold and 48 h dry matter loss (DML) was 20% higher compared to dry straw. Elephant grass cultivated intensively was low in DM content and 10% higher in 48 h DML compared to UTrFRS. Dry matter intake (DMI) was higher for the mixture of UtrFRS and Elephant grass, and highest when one-third of the roughage was UTrFRS. Higher DMI of mixed roughage diets was probably due to the low DM content of elephant grass in the sole grass roughage diet. Increasing substitution of elephant grass with UTrFRS up to 75% of the roughage component increased milk fat content and had no effect on milk yield and other milk composition parameters. Feeding UTrFRS, partially replacing elephant grass in the diets of lactating cows in the dry season can reduce the cost of roughage.
Keywords: Urea Treated Rice Straw; Elephant Grass; Degradation; Feed Intake; Milk Yield

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