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Supplementing Tropical Cattle for Improved Nutrient Utilization and Reduced Enteric Methane Emissions

1
Animal Husbandry in Tropics and Subtropics, University of Kassel and University of Göttingen, Steinstr. 19, 37213 Witzenhausen, Germany
2
Animal Nutrition and Rangeland Management in the Tropics and Subtropics, Institute of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics, University of Hohenheim, Fruwirthstr. 31, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
3
Mazingira Centre, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), 00800 Nairobi, Kenya
4
Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Atmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to the manuscript.
Animals 2019, 9(5), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050210
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 21 April 2019 / Accepted: 24 April 2019 / Published: 30 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Use of Agricultural By-Products in Animal Feeding)
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Simple Summary

Quality supplementation of roughage-based cattle diets is recommended to improve the animals’ production in tropical regions. We tested the effects of two widely suggested high-quality low-cost feed supplements on feed intake, nutrient utilization and enteric methane emissions of growing female cattle. While free access to urea-molasses blocks did not effectively improve the key variables, sweet potato vine silage, a by-product of sweet potato cultivation, improved diet digestibility as well as the animals’ retention of nitrogen and lowered their methane emissions per unit of digested feed. Supplementing productive cattle with sweet potato vine silage can thus concomitantly contribute to better animal performance and lower environmental impact.

Abstract

Given their high nitrogen (N) concentration and low costs, sweet potato vine silage (SPVS) and urea-molasses blocks (UMB) are recommended supplements for tropical regions; therefore, they were investigated in this study. Six heifers were allocated to three diets: the roughage diet (R) consisted of wheat straw (0.61) and Rhodes grass hay (0.39; on dry matter (DM) basis); R + SPVS combined R (0.81) and SPVS (0.19); and with R + UMB animals had access to UMB. During two experimental periods, feed intake, feces and urine excretion, digesta passage, and rumen microbial protein synthesis were determined during seven days and methane emissions during three days. There was no treatment effect (p > 0.05) on DM and N intake. Apparent DM digestibility of R + SPVS (510 g/kg) was higher (p < 0.05) than of R (474 g/kg). Digesta passage and duodenal microbial N flow were similar for all diets (p > 0.05), while N retention was highest with R + SPVS (p > 0.05). Methane emissions per unit of digested feed (g CH4/kg dDM) were lower (p < 0.05) for R + SPVS (55.2) than for R (64.7). Hence, SPVS supplementation to poor–quality roughage has the potential to increase diet digestibility and N retention while reducing CH4 emissions. View Full-Text
Keywords: Boran cattle; greenhouse gas emissions; low-quality roughage; microbial protein synthesis; supplementation; sweet potato vine silage; urea-molasses block Boran cattle; greenhouse gas emissions; low-quality roughage; microbial protein synthesis; supplementation; sweet potato vine silage; urea-molasses block
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ali, A.I.M.; Wassie, S.E.; Korir, D.; Merbold, L.; Goopy, J.P.; Butterbach-Bahl, K.; Dickhoefer, U.; Schlecht, E. Supplementing Tropical Cattle for Improved Nutrient Utilization and Reduced Enteric Methane Emissions. Animals 2019, 9, 210.

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