Rice Straw-Based Fodder for Ruminants
Abstract, Sustainable Rice Straw Management, 2019
Rice straw is a readily available, practical, and cheap source of fodder for feeding ruminants such as buffaloes, cattle, goats, and sheep. Livestock producers commonly haul and stack rice straw from their rice farm, which then forms reserved feed for their animals during lean months or when good-quality roughages are scarce. The feeding of pure rice straw to ruminants during the stages of fast growth and early lactation has been shown to affect both body condition score and animal performance. This is due to lower dry matter intake and protein content (from 4.0% to 4.7% crude protein) of the straw. The high silica and lignin contents of straw also contribute to poor nutrient (dry matter and protein) digestibility (<50%). So, pretreatment of straw is necessary to enhance its contribution to improving meat and milk production. Science- and technology-based farm strategies to optimize the nutritive and feeding values of rice straw had been developed with significant improvement on intake, nutrient digestibility, and animal performance. These technologies were also proven effective in contributing additional income to livestock producers from the sales of milk or live animals. This chapter presents and discusses current innovations and developed technologies on how the nutritive (nutrient composition and fiber fraction) and feeding values of rice straw can be improved. Specifically, this focuses on pretreatment (optimization process), enrichment, and recycling of rice straw by physical, chemical, and biological processes. Also covered are practical feeding protocols when rice straw—or its combination with other feed ingredients—is used in formulating a ration. The authors also share secondary information on the effect of rice straw as animal fodder on the improvement in animal performance and production efficiencies; as well as its impact on food production (meat and milk), increasing farmers’ income, and on the protection of the environment.
Keywords Rice straw Fodder Ruminant Buffaloes