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Urea molasses mineral block- A technology to increase milk production in dairy animals
By Manoj Sharma ,Gurdeep Singh and Baljit Singh
Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kapurthala Directorate of Extension Education Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana-141001
Sr. No. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Topic Introduction Method of Preparation Feeding Performance Page No. 3-5 6-12 13-19 20-23 24-30 34-36 37-39 40-41
Extension Strategies used for dissemination of technology
Reaction of Farmers Constraints in Adoption Future scope and conclusion Reference
The rearing of livestock plays an important role in the development of rural economy. The livestock husbandry not only provides milk, meat, wool, manure, urine energy etc. but also provides self-employment for unemployed youth. In India at present about more than 50% of the rural population is engaged in rearing of livestock. India largest milk producer in world, shares 15 per cent in the global output of 630 million tones. India ranks first in the milk production due to large number of cattle population, about 185 million. However, the productivity of milch animals is very low. As per last 17th census, crossbred cattle constitute 13.3 per cent of the total cattle and 86.7 per cent are indigenous cattle. There is tremendous increase in the crossbred in the country i.e. 22.8 per cent but while indigenous cattle population is declining. This increase in crossbred population can enhance the milk productivity/animal provided they are managed scientifically. Crossbred cattle population in India during 1997 and 2003 Crossbred cattle Crossbred cattle Indigenous cattle Total 1997 20.09 million 178.7 million 198.8 million 2003 24.6 million 160.5 million 185.2 million Per cent increase/ decrease 22.82 per cent -10.23 per cent -6.89 per cent
In addition to the above, proper feeding of the dairy animals is must in order to harness their full genetic potential. Since, there is a shortage of green fodder especially during the months of May-June and October-November during the year. As a result, dairy farmers face great difficulty in feeding their dairy animals for getting optimum production. Hey and silage making practices has not been adopted by farmers on large scale. Under such situation, crop residues such as rice straw, wheat straw, maize stalks and natural herbage like grass, tree
leaves etc. are fed to the animals along with a small quantity of costly concentrate. Such feeding practice does not provide adequate nutrients to the animals for improving their growth and exploiting their productive potential. In general, low quality crop residues are deficient in fermentable nitrogen, carbohydrates and important minerals. Various attempts have been made to make use of locally available feed resources so that crops and livestock can be produced more efficiently and profitably. Consequently, feed supplementation strategies have been developed to correct the nutrient deficiency of poor quality roughages for feeding of dairy animals. Earlier, the main focus was on increasing the straw utilization by ruminants. However, straw is available in large quantities but it is low in its nutritive value due to presence of high lignocellulose content, small amounts of crude protein and essential minerals. Though the feeding value of poor quality straws have been shown to be improved by using physical, chemical and biological treatments, but none of these treatments became popular amongst farmers because of the extra cost and extra work involved. In order to find out suitable supplements for optimizing rumen fermentation so that enhanced production and reproductive performance can be achieved, another technique used was, to supplement the diet with more readily available energy and protein, which were lacking in the basal diet. The technology thus identified was use of Urea molasses mineral block lick. Prospects of supplementation of diet with UMMB The unique ability of the ruminants to synthesize enough protein for maintenance through microbial action permits the use of urea as a NPN source, provided ready source of energy is available. Thus, it is now well established that urea molasses mix can provide additional nutrition and enhance the utilization of roughages. The primary objective of these UMMB licks is to provide supplementary nutrition to the dairy animals kept in the village mainly on straws and crop residues. However, the whole
purpose is defeated if the blocks are not hard enough and hence utmost care needs to be exercised that these blocks are meant only to serve as licks. It should release the urea nitrogen more slowly and frequently so as to minimize the chances of ammonia toxicity. In addition, such a system can also facilitate the supply of other nutrients such as minerals and vitamins. UMMB also helps in overcoming the malnutrition/under nutrition of our livestock and increase production at farm level and generate better returns for a dairy farmer.
1. The various feed ingredients being used in the formation of UMMB are easily
available in the market.
2. The method of its preparation is very easy. Farmers can make UMMB for themselves
as well as can sell them in the market.
3. UMMB can be stored for a long time under dry conditions. Similarly, it can be
transported to long distance without difficulty.
4. UMMB are more suitable for supplementing dry fodder based diets for sustainability
of ruminants especially during droughts and floods.
5. Licks are hard enough to control gradual intake by the animal. 6. UMMB is comparatively cheaper source of energy, protein and minerals than the
conventional source of proteins like mustard or cotton oil cakes and concentrated feeds.
METHOD OF PREPARATION
After studying the nutritional status of the animals in a particular region, the selected supplements are made available in the form of a UMMB that could be licked by the animals as per the requirements. The UMMB is prepared by using locally available feed ingredients
that are cheap and easily available. For supplementing the crop residue-based diet of large and small ruminants, the use of urea–molasses mineral block (UMMB) licks has been recommended by many livestock researchers. The main aim is to improve the nutritive value of the traditional straw-based diet thus promoting healthy growth and milk productivity of dairy animals. The UMMB contains high crude protein (CP) content due to inclusion of urea which contains 46 per cent nitrogen or 46.0 X 6.25 = 281 per cent crude protein. Most of the lick blocks contain Ca, P and Mg, and micro-minerals such as Fe, Cu, Mn, Zn, Co, I and Se, but the mineral contents differ greatly between the blocks manufactured by different workers.
Different Formulations of UMMB
The UMMB block consists of urea, molasses, wheat flour, mineral mixture, deoiled mustard cake, deoiled rice polish and common salt. In order to set the well mixed feed ingredients in the shape of a block Guar gum can be used as a binding agent. Calcium Oxide needs to be added at last as it will generate heat and make the mixture into gel like form.
Table 1 : Feed ingredients required for a 3 Kg. UMMB lick in India ( Punjab)
Name of the feed ingredient Urea Molasses Wheat flour Mineral Mixture Deoiled mustard cake Deoiled rice polish Salt CaO Quantity 300g 900g 450g 450g 300g 300g 125g 175g
Source: Department of Animal Nutrition, GADVASU, Ludhiana
It is worth to mention that the formula of UMMB may vary as per the requirement of the animals; feeding strategies and raw material available viz. formulae used in china are given as under:
Table 1 : Some formulae of UMMB used in China (%)
Anima l Ure a Molasse s Salt Cemen t Lim e Cla y Minera l Mixtur Whea t bran Maiz e meal Oil seed mea Bon e meal Gras s meal
e Cow Heifer Calf 16 12 0 8 10 15 26 26 22. 8 10 10 10 11.5 15 15 23.8 22 22.2 5 5 10 l 5 -
Source : Chen et al. 1993
Table 2. Nutritional characteristics and mineral contents of UMMB used in China
Animals1 DM (%) Cows Heifer Calf 95.8 95.1 96.1 CP (%DM) 40.0 31.1 20.0 Lysine (%DM) Methionine (%DM) ME (MJ/kg NE (MJ/kg DFM) DM) 3.51 -
Source : Chen et al 1993
Considering the nutritive value and cost of block constituents, the composition of a typical block was 39 per cent sugar-cane molasses, 20 per cent wheat bran, 20 per cent rice polish, 10 per cent urea, 6 per cent lime powder and 5 per cent common salt.
Testing of different formulations
Brar and Nanda (2003) evaluated five feed formulations (I–V) for the production of blocks using locally-available agro-industrial by-products (Table 1). Urea was added to molasses, stirred and left standing overnight. The rest of the ingredients were mixed together on a polythene sheet or in an iron pan. To obtain a uniform distribution in the whole premix, common salt was mixed with the cement, and was poured into this premix and blended thoroughly. A measured quantity of this semi-solid mixture (1.0 or 2.0 kg) was put in an iron frame covered with a wooden sheet tightly fitting the frame and pressed for 20–30 seconds using the foot pressure of one person. The iron frame was then removed, leaving a UMMB block on the polythene sheet. The blocks were left at room temperature to air-dry so that it becomes hard enough for handling, transport and feeding. The time taken to harden off and other physical characteristics of these blocks are shown in Table 3. Table 1 : Formulations used for preparation of UMMB licks Ingredients Formulations
(%) Molasses Urea De-oiled rice bran Oiled rice bran Groundnut-nutcake Common salt Cement
I 40 10 26 10 4 10
II 40 10 26 10 4 10
III 35 10 33 10 2 10
IV 35 10 33 10 2 10
V 35 10 17 16 10 2 10
Table 3 : Physical characteristics of UMMB prepared by cold process Characteristics I II IV Hardness + + +++ Days to Dry at ambient 2-4 temperature Brittleness + ++ Acceptability Not tried Not tried 100 % 100 % It was found that the blocks prepared from formulations I and II, with 40 Formulations III +++ 8-10 V +++ 3-6 + 100 % percent
molasses, were too soft to retain their block shape. The blocks prepared from formulations III, IV and V were acceptably hard, although a variable number of days were required for them to reach the desired hardness. The blocks from formulation IV (33 per cent de-oiled rice bran) were relatively more brittle and had a high breakage percentage during transport, leading to wastage, while the blocks from formulation III (33 per cent oiled rice bran) were sticky, difficult to prepare and took longer to harden off. Blocks from formulation V, with 16 per cent oiled and 17 per cent de-oiled rice bran, were relatively easier to prepare, sufficiently hard, less brittle and required only a moderate time (3–5 days) to harden. Blocks weighing one kilogram had a greater tendency to break than the two-kilogram blocks. Table 3 : Proximate analysis of fresh and stored UMMB prepared using different Formulations Components Dry matter (percent UMMB) Crude protein Neutral detergent fibre Acid detergent fibre of III 85.0 42.4 26.7 Fresh IV 84.0 43.0 25.9 V 86.5 41.8 26.5 III 84.4 40.9 26.0 21.0 Stored IV 81.8 40.8 26.0 14.5 V 83.5 41.3 27.0 17.5
Cellulose 3.6 Ether extract 1.4 Ash 28.3 Source Brar and Nanda (2003) Process of making UMMB licks
6.4 0.5 26.4
4.1 0.8 27.5
5.0 2.5 35.1
7.0 0.5 22.8
5.5 1.0 26.5
The preparation of UMMB can be classified into two categories namely Hot Process and Cold Process. Urea-molasses-mineral blocks may be manufactured either on a small or on a larger scale depending on the requirements. It has been found that under Punjab conditions, blocks weighing 3 kg are most appropriate for feeding dairy cattle. UMMB preparation by the cold process Step 1. Preparation of feed ingredient All the required feed ingredients should be weighed out individually before mixing. Further, the particle size of all the material should be same so that uniform mixing can take place. For this purpose, feed ingredients need to be ground and pass through a standard mesh. Molasses Molasses is a source of easily fermentable carbohydrates and acts as a binder. Blocks are highly palatable when they contain molasses. It has been demonstrated that mixing molasses and urea can greatly slow down the release of NH3-N in the rumen. For the molasses no preparation is necessary apart from measuring the quantity. Even if handling the molasses is a little difficult it should not be diluted with water. Molasses can be stored in the same tank as that used for transporting it. Urea The urea is available in granules, therefore, it may be necessary to crush the lumps, either by hand or by passing the urea through a hand mill and sieve. Common salt For uniform mixing, common salt needs to be finely ground. Cement or quicklime Lime or cement has been used commonly as a solidifier and binder. Ordinary clay or bentonite has also proved efficient for block making (Chen et al., 1993b; Guan et al., 1998). If quicklime is to be used it should be finely ground and its reaction to the addition of water
tested. In Punjab, addition of Guar Gum @ 5 % helped in solidifying the block to the desired level. Bran Bran does not need any preparation. However, if the bran is replaced by another fibre source such as peanut hulls or straw, these materials should be ground before mixing. Step 2. Mixing up of raw material If adequate labour is available and only few blocks are needed then manual mixing is possible. With 2 labourers and one supervisor, approximately 100 blocks of 3 kg each could be made over a period of 8 hours (a working day). It has been observed that the order of adding feed ingredients plays an important role in the mixing process. The desired order is as under: • • •
Molasses Urea Salt Mineral mixture Cement or quicklime or guar gum Bran Calcium oxide Following this order a homogenous mixture of the urea, salt and gelling agent in the
molasses is assured. When using a mixer the bran must be introduced in small quantities at a time, in order to ensure a homogenous mix. Step 3. Moulding Many workers have used a simple moulding process to manufacture lick blocks (Ma et al., 1992; Yang, Jiang and Wen, 1996; Chen et al., 2001b). In this process, ingredients are mixed in a manner similar to the hot process and then transferred to moulds. Moulds are necessary to set the blocks in an acceptable shape. Once UMMB has hardened, the frame can be removed for reuse and to allow the drying process to continue. Moulds can be of different shapes. The size of the mould will depend on the desired size of the block. The blocks produced by Yang, Jiang and Wen (1996) were square in shape with a
round hole in the centre (1.5 cm in diameter) to allow the blocks to be hung on a fence. The breaking strength was 56.9 kg/cm2. The hardness increased when formaldehyde-treated urea was used in the block instead of urea. Small plastic containers have been used successfully in Indonesia for preparing ureamolasses blocks. They produce blocks with acceptable solidity and are suitable for use in small units. An advantage of this type of mould is that the block can be offered to the animal while it is in the plastic container and once the block has been consumed the container can be re-used. Step 4. Drying After taking out from the moulds, blocks are arranged on a drying area. Blocks must not be exposed to direct sunlight, but placed under a shade with good ventilation. It would be better if these UMMB blocks are wrapped in polythene sheets to avoid moisture absorption because these contain urea and common salt and both are hygroscopic in nature.
UMMB preparation by the hot process In this method, the weighed quantity of urea and molasses are mixed together in an iron pan and heated for about half an hour while being stirred slowly. Still hot, other feed ingredients are added and mixed thoroughly. Blocks are prepared by using a hydraulic press. This method, involves the heating up of all the ingredients, is labour intensive, takes a longer time and needs costly equipment, such as a hydraulic press. Further, the blocks so produced have been reported to be highly hygroscopic, leading to poor shelf life (Tripathi, 1997; Garg, Mehta and Singh, 1998). Although the method was adopted by a few commercial firms, the high costs of equipment, infrastructure, and additional energy required for heating, and cumbersome procedure militated against its acceptance by small-scale farmers. On the other hand the cold process had the merits of saving time, energy, labour and overall costs in
comparison to the hot process. Therefore, now farmers can make use of cold process in manufacturing the UMMB at their own level.
A. Supplementation of feed with UMMB Various studies have been conducted to assess optimum level of feeding of UMMB for cross bred cattle. The effect of feeding UMMB on milk yield and reproductive performance of crossbred cows reared fed a rice-straw-based diet was studied in Bangladesh. The average body weight of crossbred cows was 300 kg and it was fed 2.75 kg/head/day of homemade concentrate mixture. Average initial milk production was about 6 kg/day. The composition of UMMB prepared was molasses 39 %, wheat bran 20 %, rice polish 20 %, lime powder CaO 6 % and common salt 5 %. The blocks were prepared using the cold process. Four levels of UMMB 0, 350, 500, and 650 g/head/day of UMMB were fed to the crossbred cows in treatment groups T0, T1, T2 and T3, respectively to assess the optimum amount of UMMB required for maximum production. In this context, it should be noted that long anoestrus periods and infertility are serious problems in rearing crossbred cows in
Bangladesh. Results obtained were encouraging. On feeding UMMB, milk yields of dairy cattle increased by 1 to 1.5 kg/day. The optimum level of UMMB for crossbred cows to achieve higher milk production and better reproductive performance was found to be 500 g/head/day. Cows and calves with access to UMMB licks gained more body weight than their counterparts without access to UMMB. Also the intervals from calving to initiation of luteal activity, oestrus and conception were shorter in UMMB-fed lactating cows. The postpartum reproductive intervals of cow can be reduced by feeding UMMB (Hendratno, 1999), which is of economic significance. It was interesting that the difference between first progesterone rise and first detectable oestrus were 66 to 80 days in groups T0 and T3 (Table 6.4), which indicated that the farmers were unable to detect heat at its first occurrence, resulting in 3 to 4 heats lost without insemination. The calving interval of cows was reduced by 64 days in group T2, which has an economic value as more calves are produced over the total reproductive life of a cow. Taking 10 years as a typical reproductive life of a cow, it is expected that a cow in the T0 group will produce 7 calves in her total reproductive life, while cows in group T2 group will produce 8 calves each. The additional calf and lactation from each cow earns more profit in the T2 group of animals. Table : Mean values for milk yield, body weight change in cows and calf weight gain. Parameter T0 Milk yield (kg/day) 180 days average 5.42 Lactation average 3.33 3.5 percent FCM (2) 5.95 Lactation yield (kg) 1115 Body weight change of cow 9.4b (g/day) Calf weight gain (g/day) 159b T1 Diet(1) T2 6.81 4.19 8.16 1527 88.1a 215a SEM T3 6.83 4.20 8.16 1531 88.4a 228a 0.009 0.055 0.106 19.85 4.302 2.717 Level of significance S S S S S S
5.49 3.38 6.38 1196 65.9ab 167b
Note : (1) The diets were T0 = control (no UMMB), T1 = 350 g/head/day; T2 = 500 g/head/day; T3 : 650 g/head/day, (2) FCM = fat-corrected milk. (3) a , b = means with different superscripts differ significantly (P < 0.05)
Replacement of concentrate by UMMB
Generally, concentrate feeds are costly and therefore, dairy farmers are reluctant to feed costly ration to their animals especially when milk production goes down at the end of the lactation. Many farmers rear cows on very small amount of concentrate to minimize feed cost. To study the effect of replacing concentrate by UMMB, 60 multiparous crossbred dairy cows reared on straw-based diets were selected. Three diets, comprising a daily ration per head of 2.75 kg concentrate (T0), 2.45 kg concentrate + 0.30 kg UMMB (T1) or 2.25 kg concentrate + 0.50 kg UMMB (T2), were fed to three groups of 20 lactating cows each. Rice straw was fed as roughage, with a very small amount of cut-and-carry grass (1.4 kg/head/day) under zero grazing conditions for 180 days. The results are presented in Table 6.6. Animals in group T2 had significantly (P <0.001) higher roughage intake, and milk yield was also improved significantly (P <0.05) (6.94 kg/head/ day). The fat content of milk increased in T1 (45.8 g/kg) and T2 (48.4 g/kg) groups compared with the control, T0 (40.4 g/kg). The highest content of fat was in the T2 group, which resulted in higher economic return. Body weight gain of calves was improved significantly (P <0.05). Calving interval was also reduced by 60 days. The highest profit was in the T2 group, and derived mostly from replacing concentrate by 500 g UMMB/head/day. Protein content of milk increased with increasing amounts of UMMB, and non-fat milk solids (SNF) and total solids (TS) also increased when concentrate was replaced with 300 g and 500 g UMMB in groups T1 and T2, respectively. Conclusively , supplementation with UMMB resulted in improved milk quality. Table : Effect of UMMB supplements on intake, milk yield and body weight change of cows and calves Parameters Diet(1) SEM Level of significance T0 T1 T2 Roughage intake (kg DM/ Day Total DM intake (kg /day) Milk yield (kg/day) 3.5 % FCM (kg/day) Body weight change of cow (g/day) Calf weight gain (g/day) Calving interval (days) 6.9 9.4 5.6 6.1 6.1 160 485 8.0 10.5 5.8 6.9 13.7 181 483 9.2 11.3 6.9 8.5 42.9 248 425 0.177 0.29 0.07 0.09 5.46 4.74 10.48 S NS S S NS S NS
Note : (1) *** = P < 0.001; Ns = not significant (P> 0.05), (2) The diets were T0 = 2.75 kg concentrate per day, no UMMB, T1 = 2.45 kg concentrate + 0.30 kg/day UMMB g/head/day; T2 =
15 2.25 kg/day concentrate + 0.50 kg/day UMMB. Means with different superscripts differ significantly ( P <0.05). DM = dry matter
Effect of UMMB licks on the performance of animals In order to test the effect of UMMB lick intake on the performance of animals,
various field trials has been conducted in various countries. It has been indicated that the intake of UMMB licks has affected the milk yield, growth, milk fat and reproductive performance of animals. Some of the field trials conducted at various places have been discussed here. a. Milk yield In one trial UMMB licks were distributed to farmers who were rearing indigenous cows on straw-based diets. Milk yield, increased on providing UMMB licks for cows. In another trial by Wang et al. (1995), 10 dairy cows supplemented with UMMB produced 1.1– 1.5 kg more milk than those without supplement. Chen et al. (1993a) observed that the cows having access to UMMB licks had an average milk yield of 20.7 kg/day, which was 1.3 kg higher (P < 0.01) than the average of the control group. In another trial by Wang et al. (1995), 10 dairy cows supplemented with UMMB produced 1.1–1.5 kg (5.3–5.9 percent) more milk than those without blocks . Xu, Zhao and Liu (1993) investigated the performance of Holstein dairy cows in the middle stage of lactation and found that when urea-containing lick blocks were provided, the cows produced 20.5 kg/ day of milk, which was 4.1 kg (25 percent) higher than the average of the control group. Table: Effect of feeding UMMB on productive performance of indigenous cows and calves Parameter Treatment Level Significance -UMMB +UMMB Milk yield (Kg /day) 1.47 1.84 S Body weight change of cow (g/day) -33 -4 NS Calf’s weight gain (g /day) 66 110 S Body condition score of cow on 1-5 scale 2.31 2.51 S
Note : NS : Non significant, S : Significant
(Source : Mazed, 1997)
Change in the body weight of animals: Various studies show that body weight gain, calf weight gain and body condition
score increased on providing UMMB licks for cows. When buffalo heifers fed on rice straw diets were supplemented with UMMB, daily weight gain was 650 g. versus 620 g. for control animals (Lu et al., 1995). Further it has been reported that use of UMMB increased live weight gain of buffalo heifers in a study conducted in Bangladesh. The UMMB supplementation with straw-based diets for indigenous cows resulted in 4.8 percent increased live weight gain after calving. c. Reproductive performance of animals: It has been shown that UMMB supplementation resulted in early heat symptoms in cows after calving. The first progesterone rise of a cow after calving, first detectable heat, calving-to-conception interval and calving interval were observed to be shorter in UMMBsupplemented cows as compared to unsupplemented indigenous cows (Mazed, 1997). Table : Effects of feeding UMMB on postpartum reproductive performance of indigenous cows Indicator Treatment Level of Significance -UMMB +UMMB Interval from calving to Ist progesterone rise (days) 104 103 NS Ist oestrus (days) 194 130 S Conception (days) 199 162 NS Calving interval (days) 480 443 NS
Note : NS : Non significant, S : Significant (Source : Mazed, 1997)
Table : Effect of UMMB on postpartum reproductive intervals of cows Indices T0 Interval from calving to – (d) 96 Ist progesterone rise (days) Ist oestrus (days) 162 Conception (days) 234 Next calving (days) 517 Calving interval reduced (days) Service conception (No.) 2.67 a T1 87 132 187 470 47 2.0b Diet(1) T2 82 123 170 453 64 1.8 b SEM T3 62 142 170 460 57 17.3 b 3.486 4.555 5.702 5.670 0.044 Level of significance NS NS NS NS S NS
17 Note : (1) The diets were T0 = control (no UMMB), T1 = 350 g/head/day; T2 = 500 g/head/day; T3 : 650 g/head/day, (2) FCM = fat-corrected milk. (3) a , b = means with different superscripts differ significantly (P < 0.05)
Digestion and metabolism in the rumen Zhang et al (1997) studied the effect of supplementary urea containing lick blocks on
NH3- N concentration and pH value in the rumen of wethers. The pH did not alter, while rumen NH3-N (P <0.01) concentration significantly increased and approached or exceeded 13 mg/100 ml rumen fluid, the optimal level of NH3-N for rumen microbial activity suggested by Hume, Moir and Somers (1970). The improvement in the rumen ecosystem is beneficial to rumen microbial activity, and hence rumen digestion. Xue et al. (1995) observed that when the animals were supplied with an additional urea block of 50 g per head per day, the microbial protein yield was increased (11.87 vs 10.18 g/day) and synthetic efficiency was improved compared to that of control. Further ,it has also been reported that when rice straw, maize stover and sugar cane bagasse were incubated in the rumen of buffaloes supplemented with UMMB, the 48- hour degradation of feedstuff nutrients was significantly higher than in the rumens of animals without block supplementation (Guan et al., 2001c). e. Digestion and utilization of the diets Many investigators have observed that the supplementation with UMMB can improve digestion and utilization of nutrients in the diets. Wu and Liu (1996) studied the effects of giving an urea mineral lick block on the kinetics of ruminal fibre digestion, nutrient digestibility and nitrogen utilization of rice straw, ammonium bicarbonate (AB)-treated straw and hay prepared from wild forage. The results are given in Table 7.10. It was noted that with block supplementation, the digestibility of dry matter and organic matter of rice straw were increased by 13.1 and 12.7 percent (P < 0.05) and was comparable to that of the AB-treated straw, indicating that the effect of the blocks on digestibility of rice straw may be similar to that of AB treatment. The digestibility of the treated straw was improved slightly when animals had access to blocks. Nitrogen retention was highest in lambs on AB-treated straw
alone, followed by hay with blocks, and was lowest in animals on rice straw with blocks. However, both the amount of nitrogen retention and proportion relative to intake were increased by block supplementation in lambs fed on hay. The proportion of nitrogen retained to that digested decreased with block supplementation in lambs on both untreated and treated straw. Access to blocks did not significantly influence the rumen degradation of either dry matter or crude protein in any of the three diets. From the results, it is inferred that while the block is effective in increasing nutrient digestibility of low quality roughages through improved ruminal fibre digestion, a simultaneous supply of nitrogen and energy to rumen microbes should be considered to improve the utilization efficiency of nitrogen when the basal diet is ammoniated straw. The effect of the blocks on digestibility of rice straw was similar to that of treatment with ammonia, and further improvement in digestibility of ammoniated straw was obtained by supplementation with the blocks. Retention and net utilization efficiency of nitrogen were improved more in the animals fed untreated rice straw than in those fed ammoniated straw. It might be due to the oversupply of nitrogen when ammoniated straw diets are supplemented with urea blocks. f. Effect of dietary urea levels on intake of UMMB and utilization of nutrients in adult buffaloes. Hosmani et.al.(2005) reported that 16 adult male Murrah buffaloes were divided in to 4 groups and fed on diets containing wheat straw and urea-molasses mineral block (UMMB) lick ad libitum and crushed maize grain to meet energy requirement plus urea 0, 15, 30 and 45 g/head daily. It was observed that there were no significant differences in intake of UMMB, wheat straw, total DM and total digestible nutrients between groups but CP intake was higher (P<0.05) in group 4 than in groups 1 and 2. Digestibility of nutrients in all groups was similar, except that for CP which was higher (P<0.01) in group 4. Nitrogen balance was not significantly different between groups. There was no significant effect of different levels of urea supplementation on blood urea, protein or ammonia. It appears that the fermentable N
from UMMB was not sufficient to meet buffalo requirements when fed with dry fodder. Supplementation of urea along with UMMB improved N status.
Extensive efforts have been made to transfer the technologies to the end user, the farmer. The different extension methods adopted were
Training of trainers like veterinary officers, veterinary students, research scientists from different veterinary and animal husbandry teaching and research institutes and state agricultural universities
Training of farmers through field demonstrations given to rural dairy farmers at village-level and at animal welfare camps organized in collaboration with line departments and ATMA. The UMMB licks were distributed free-of-cost to the farmers in order to assess its feeding effect on the performance of dairy cattle.
Efforts are being made by the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kapurthala to develop entrepreneurs in preparation of UMMB on a commercial scale.
Popularization of UMMB technology by Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kapurthala, Punjab KVK, Kapurthala was emphasizing to the dairy farmers about the utility of UMMB
developed by the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana for the last 4 to 5 years through lectures, trainings, seminars, conferences and posters but was not able to conduct feeding experiment at farmer’s field. As a result, farmers were not convinced about this technology or we can say that it remained in theory. During the year 2007-08, ATMA became operative in the district and KVK Kapurthala was involved in this project by the District Magistrate who was the Chairman of ATMA Governing Board. KVK was asked to help the poor dairy farmers by disseminating the most sustainable and economical technologies which can
increase milk production in cattle and buffaloes during lean periods so that a maximum
Plate 1: Dissemination of UMMB licks technology in different villages of District Kapurthala
returns can be accrued. It was also assured that all the necessary help would be provided by the Project Director ATMA, Kapurthala. During the month of September-October, 2008, in the governing board of ATMA, it was decided to conduct demonstrations on the feeding of Urea Molasses Mineral Blocks on cattle and buffaloes at farmers’ field in the whole district. Hence, KVK, Kapurthala procured UMMB from the university and conducted demonstrations at farmers field during the months of January, February, March , April, May and June, 2009 in different blocks of district Kapurthala. II. The extension approach of AMUL and Mehsana milk union (Haijarabad, Gujrat)
Case of AMUL: Amul introduced UMMB to the dairy farmers for the first time in the mid1980s through the extension staff of the Department of Animal Husbandry and the Department of Procurement and Inputs. Amul used various approaches to popularize the use of UMMB licks among the farmers. Amul’s extension staff members were the most
important sources of information for the respondents. The veterinary staff, who visited the village for pregnancy diagnosis or artificial insemination, also advised farmers to use UMMBs for pregnancy-related problems. Role of literature like posters, brochures, Amul patrika etc. ,was very limited in the spread of the technology. But overall Amul’s extension approach appeared to have succeeded in disseminating information about UMMB among milk producers. Promotion of UMMB was undertaken in the form of a campaign.The key extension strategy used for generation of awareness about UMMB was an intensive contact programme in each village with the District Co operative-staff, management committee members, members of the village co-operative societies and other villagers. Case of Mehsana : The extension approach of the Mehsana Milk Union for popularisation of UMMB was somewhat different. Unlike Amul, extension work was taken up primarily by small teams of extension staff, who were provided with all their prerequisites for field trials and extension activities, including vehicles for mobility, salaries for the union staff/supervisors, extension materials etc. The extension work was undertaken primarily through intensive contact programmes at the village level. Discussions and meetings were held with milk producers, DCS staff and management committee members, women dairy farmers and the villagers. Posters, film shows and other educational materials, developed by NDDB, were also used to generate awareness about UMMB licks and motivate dairy farmers to use them. Status of adoption of UMMB among dairy farmers The use of UMMB licks was first promoted free of charge in a few experimental villages and then introduced for sale in additional villages. Despite concerted extension
efforts, a few dairy farmers adopted UMMB licks. Most of the early adopters of UMMB licks in Mehsana milk shed were primarily concentrated in the green areas. However, most of them discontinued the use of UMMB after the trial phase. As a result, the demand for UMMB declined. Although Amul tried to popularise UMMB among all milk producers (including smallholders), the early adopters of UMMB were primarily those who had taken up dairying as an important income generating activity. They were progressive farmers who were receptive to new ideas and strove to improve milk productivity. In the words of the extension staff their mindset was very different. Therefore, they adopted UMMB licks and used them. Similar receptivity to new ideas is not found among other communities who are in the dairy business now. In summary, beyond the trial phase only a few small-scale milk producers used UMMB licks on a continuous basis. In Mehsana Milk Union, some of the users of UMMB from the green areas switched over from UMMB licks to urea molasses granules. Unfortunately, the use of granules does not have adequate scientific support. Due to once-aday feeding practices, the granules release a short-lived high concentration of ammonia in the rumen, much of which is wasted. In a few villages, however, some large-scale dairy farmers, who have undertaken animal husbandry as a primary occupation continued to use UMMBs.
REACTION OF FARMERS
I. A. EXPERIENCES FROM INDIA Case of Punjab During the investigation, majority of the respondent farmers (46.5 per cent) reported that water intake was increased whereas only 28.9 per cent of the respondent farmers had
indifferent reaction about effect of UMMB feeding on water intake in dairy animals. On the other hand, about 21 per cent of them did not take note of water consumption. Similarly, majority of the respondent farmers (73.13 %) reported that animals had higher dry matter intake with the use of UMMB licks. Only about 4 per cent of the respondent farmers reported that it has no effect on dry matter intake. a. Impact on animal health As data pertain to the use of UMMB licks for three months only, no significant impact of UMMB licks on animal health could be found (Fig 1). Large numbers of respondent farmers (84.62 %), therefore, were indifferent about the effect of UMMB licks on animal health. About twelve per cent respondent farmers reported positive effect of this technology on the health of dairy animals under study. Only about 4 per cent of respondent farmers observed negative effect of use of UMMB licks on the health of the animals. This was probably due to the fact that the animals could take large amount of UMMB lick, when provided ad lib. and thus could have created imbalance in rumen digestion. Fig 1: Reaction of farmers about impact of UMMB licks on dairy animal (n =200) b. Effect on milk yield Majority of the respondent farmers (44 %) informed that there was an increase in the milk yield varying from 0.5 l to 2.0 l per animal per day whereas 28 per cent of them were indifferent about the effect of UMMB licks feeding on milk yield. On further probe from the respondents who were indifferent about effect on milk yield, about 71 per cent of them realized that unlike previous years there was no reduction in the milk yield especially during hot months ( April to June). This means that feeding of UMMB helped in sustaining the milk yield in milch animals during the period when there was a shortage of green fodder and thus reduced dry matter intake. Farmers reported that use of UMMB licks with wheat straw was able to maintain milk yield equivalent to yield obtained when animal was fed on berseem fodder. Thus, by supplementing UMMB, the farmers could harvest a yield similar to that of
green fodder feeding. Researchers have revealed that wheat straw along with UMMB licks is able to provide maintenance energy to maintain the health of dairy animals. Perhaps that’s why the animals were able to maintain milk yield in absence of green fodder. Only eight per cent of the respondent farmers informed that there was no effect of feeding UMMB on the milk yield. Since at most of the dairy farms, major dairy farm operations are being performed by hired casual labourers, so 28 per cent farmers reported that they did not record the milk yield but were happy with the performance due to the fact that they were of the opinion that animals relished the taste of UMMB (Fig 2).
Effect on milk fat There is an inverse relationship between milk fat and milk yield. This is evident from
the farmers’ observations as only 11.5 per cent respondent farmers informed that fat percentage increased whereas 44 per cent farmers informed that milk yield increased. Similarly, 61.5 per cent of them observed that fat percentage remained same and 28 per cent informed that milk yield remained same (Fig 2). Figure 2 : Reaction of farmers about impact of using UMMB licks on milk yield and fat percentage (n =200)
Adoption of UMMB licks It is very important for the research scientists as well as extension workers to know
the fate of technologies generated and transferred by them among the end users. With this concept in mind, effort was made to know about the satisfaction level reached by the dairy farmers after making use of UMMB in the daily feeding schedule of milch animals. It was noticed that about 81 per cent of respondent farmers were fully satisfied with the results obtained and had adopted this technology (Fig 3). That’s why all of them were ready to purchase UMMB from the suppliers at their own level. Non-availability of UMMB
licks as and when required by the farmers was observed as the major hindrance in the adoption of this technology. Only about 8 per cent respondent farmers were not satisfied. Moreover, these were the farmers who had adopted wrong strategy to feed the animals. However, about 12 per cent farmers were found to be partially satisfied.
Fig 3 : Satisfaction level of farmers about the utility of UMMB licks (n =200)
Case of Gujrat In general, any product for animals launched by Amul was viewed favourably by the
members, because of Amul’s high credibility among the members. The Dairy farmers used the UMMBs during the trial stage. The experiences of the farmers are summarised below: 1. Seven of 15 respondents mentioned that UMMBs were good for the animals, but they could not explain why. 2. One landless labourer reported that UMMBs were useful for improving reproductive efficiency of the animals. 3. One marginal farmer thought that UMMBs were good for crossbred cows. 4. Common problems in using the UMMBs included melting of the blocks and spoiling of the blocks by houseflies, ants, dust, dung, urine etc.
5. A few respondents reported shortages of utensils (tagara) for dispensing UMMBs.
In practice, benefits of UMMB were not visible to the respondents, as their animals did not lick an adequate quantity of the blocks. Considerable efforts were made by NDDB to find an appropriate dispenser for holding the UMMBs. However, none of the options offered an acceptable solution. For example, initially the farmers used tagaras (small round metal vessels) for UMMB. As tagaras were lightweight, the animals used to tip them over and the blocks became soiled. To solve this problem, heavy cement blocks were introduced in the Mehsana milk shed for holding the UMMBs. However, neither tagaras nor cement blocks offered the right solution; as these dispensers were placed on the ground in front of the animals, cow dung, urine, dust, water, straw etc. spoiled the UMMBs. Once the blocks were spoiled, the animals would not eat them. NDDB further designed plastic dispensers for
holding UMMBs. These plastic dispensers could be hung where they were accessible to the animals; however, the animals easily broke them, even when they were hung or placed above ground level. Similarly, metal boxes were designed in such a way that the animals could not chew the UMMB, but could easily lick them. Nevertheless, their use was also limited, as most farmers did not have a proper place in their cattle shed to hang them. Irrespective of the type of dispenser used, a common problem reported by the early adopters was melting of the blocks. The blocks prepared through the hot process were sensitive to humidity and temperature and melted easily. This made the blocks very messy and unhygienic. The blocks also attracted flies and other insects due to their molasses content. Instead of licking the blocks over a period of time, some of the animals chewed them. Unlike hot process blocks, the cold process blocks did not melt easily. However, some of the animals did not lick the blocks, presumably because of problems in palatability. The farmers sometimes used to sprinkle flour on the blocks to induce licking. Unused hard blocks were wasted, dissolved in water or cut into small pieces and mixed with cattle feed. The benefits of using UMMBs were not easily visible to the farmers when the animals did not consume an adequate quantity of the blocks. Inability to maintain quality of the UMMB was one of the major factors that adversely affected its use. II. EXPERIENCES FROM BANGLADESH The principal animal feed source in Bangladesh is rice straw and rice by-products, such as rice polish. Farmers also feed their cattle with mixed green fodder cut from roadsides, but during the dry season i.e., November to April, such mixed green fodder is not available and the animals are completely dependent on rice straw as the sole feed. To sustain the level of milk production, supplementary feeding is essential for dairy cattle. In addition, many of the cattle in Bangladesh calve during the dry season. According to farmer’s observation and experience, feeding 500 g UMMB/day to a lactating cow can sustain milk production without any concentrate. Many farmers have been
making UMMB on their farms and feeding to lactating cows for more milk and to bring their cows into heat early. Some farmers have been using UMMB as a substitute for concentrate. A considerable number of farmers have accepted this technology on their own initiative. Farmers’ observations and experiences in Bangladesh • Farmers reported that their animals looked healthier, their skin appeared shiny, and they had good body condition. • Their animals consumed more feed, especially roughages, with increased straw intake. • • • • Their animals came into heat earlier after calving. Concentrate provision could be reduced by UMMB use to sustain milk production. Cows with access to UMMB continued giving milk for a longer period. Milk production could be sustained by providing UMMB to low yielding (2–6 kg/day) cows, without feeding any concentrate. Lessons learnt The observation and experiences from different studies shows that results were varying at different places. There are cases where farmers were convinced about the benefits of the technology but at the same time at places farmers discontinued the use of technology after trial basis. Further, these studies present data of limited period. Hence, long term experiment work is needed to find the real impact of this technology. Further, as studies reports that farmers used licks when they were available free of cost or on trial basis only in spite of the benefits realized by them. This necessitates, finding out the constraints realized by farmers in adoption of UMMB technology.
CONSTRAINTS IN ADOPTION
Research carried out in a laboratory or at an experimental station will be of significance only if it is accepted by the farmers. A farmer will accept a new technology only if he is convinced that the method is suitable and profitable to him. The introduction of innovation to small holder farmers, even if they are “appropriate” is one of the most difficult tasks of research and extension personnel. A technology that has been successful at Institute level or at an organized farm may not necessarily succeed at village level primarily because of small holding of farmers who rear livestock for supplementing income and are reluctant to change their traditional practices, especially when the innovations call for extra time and labour. The more likely application of new technologies could perhaps be with large-scale operations where benefits are clear and sufficiently large to warrant the extra efforts. The technologies evolved with regard to the animal nutrition areas have far-reaching consequences in bringing socio-economic transformation of the rural and urban dairy owners of this country. Thus, the key issue is as follows: What should be the appropriate approach for developing innovations for small-scale dairy farmers? Should it be from laboratory to farm, from farm to laboratory or a combination of approaches? Diffusion of UMMB through extension will depend upon the following factors which are same for any proven technology for its dissemination among end- users. For any innovation, the extension support or lack of it can speed up or retard its rate of adoption. Institutional aspects of transferring research results are very important for commercialisation and diffusion of new products.
For dissemination of this technology warrants proactive extension strategy. Thus, comparative evaluation of studies on UMMB diffusion and adoption among dairy farmers shows that even an intensive extension approach is unlikely to be effective unless the innovation that it promotes is perceived as relevant by the potential adopters and meets their needs or solves their problems. If the technology is introduced at time when there is abundance of green fodder or at stage where benefits of UMMB are not visible to the milk producers, the technology will not be adopted by the farmers as the milk producers are not greatly concerned about the long-term benefits of using UMMBs. And if for various reasons the animals did not lick adequate quantities of blocks or consume in large quantities it can be a permanent blockade in the adoption and diffusion process. So, the technology has to be introduced at time when results are immediate i.e. time when there is dearth of green fodder. Farmers have to be trained about the precautions needed to be taken while using the licks as from the farmers’ observation and experience it has been seen that in certain cases over feeding has caused off feeding in cows for several days. There are various factors that can affect the adoption UMMB lick among farmers so it is necessary to take farmers perspective into consideration. Factors influencing the adoption of UMMB technology
1. Livestock feeding patterns of smallholders including the use of UMMBs are
determined by the existing farming systems and livestock management practices. 2. Adoption of UMMBs by milk producers is influenced by the perceived direct benefits of UMMB.
3. The major emphasis of development and diffusion of UMMB has been to try to fit the
innovative product within the existing system. Improving milk production of the animals of small-scale dairy farmers from divergent livestock and farming systems
needs to move away from such a top–down approach for ‘transfer of technology’ to a farmer-centred approach that is based on people’s felt needs and problems?. For that feedback of farmers must be given research scientists. 4. The case study is based on limited field research, however, the findings and the trends discussed need to be examined further through in-depth and rigorous research, for a clearer understanding of adoption processes and in order to develop an appropriate approach. Constraints influencing the adoption of UMMB technology
The prices of ingredients used in UMMB go on fluctuating according to the season. For example, the price of molasses, maize etc in the local market are unstable, reflecting its seasonal availability. Its availability is higher and price lower in the sugar cane crushing season.
Farmers are interested to purchase the UMMB licks from the local market, but there is no large-scale manufacturer in the market.
Level of education of the farmers is an important factor. The technology was adopted more rapidly in those places having a higher proportion of literate people.
The economic condition of farmers affects technology adoption. Poor farmers are unable to purchase UMMBs due to lack of money, as they purchase their food daily and often meet requirements by selling milk on a daily basis.
Large-scale production of UMMB, which could increase availability, is probably not possible without financial support from the Government, due to lack of capital investment.
Usually, medium-scale milk producers (5–15 kg milk/day) at village level are more concerned about increasing milk production and are ready to invest in the technology.
Farmers having only one or two cows with low production levels are less interested in additional investment.
Adoption of UMMB-The perspective of women dairy farmers As women dairy farmers play major role in animal husbandry, so the perspective of woman dairy farmer and resource-poor women on the use of UMMB and the constraints to using them on a regular basis was considered. The perspective of resource-poor women dairy farmers Focused group discussion was held with four poor women who had one to two milch animals. Agricultural wage labour was their primary source of income. For them, animal husbandry was a supplementary income generation activity. Most of the smallholders, however, kept their milch animals in a subsistence manner. Only, in the monsoon season, grass is available in abundance from agricultural fields where the smallholders worked. At times they buy or collected wheat straw from fields for their milch animals. The net income of from dairy was used for meeting household expenses. Thus, they hardly had any surplus income to spend on a new feed supplement, such as UMMB. Some of the resource-poor women dairy farmers had used UMMBs for a few days when they were available free of charge under ATMA scheme. These dairy farmers found use of UMMB beneficial in enhancing performance of animals.
The perspective of a successful dairy farmer
Swaran Singh is small farmer of Kapurthala district. He belongs to a nuclear family. He has taken up animal husbandry as a primary occupation. The gross annual family incomes’ major share comes from dairy. According to Swaran Singh nearly fifty per cent of the dairy income goes towards maintenance of the animals.
1. He started with dairy on commercial scale few years back. He has now about 70 milch
animals. He always strives to get higher productivity per animal by improving the ration of his animals. He finds that cows are more profitable than buffalo because they are less expensive and give milk for a long duration.
34 2. Concentrates are purchased from the market and are given mainly to the milk animals.
He is feeding UMMB licks to 30 animals. According to Singh UMMB licks has more beneficial effect on cow than buffaloes. He feels that 300 g dose of UMMB licks is more appropriate for milch animals.
3. Swaran Singh came to know about UMMBs in from the Krishi Vigyan Kendra
trainings. In year 2009 he visited KVK where experts informed him about the use of UMMB licks in times when green fodder in not available. From then on he is using these blocks regularly. He was aware of UMMBs as a feed supplement with nutrients. In his opinion, the benefits of UMMBs are (1) to increase feed intake and (2) to improve health and reproductively of the animals. Apart from few success stories the adoption of UMMBs was limited. Most of the milk producers did not use the blocks beyond the trial stage due to inconvenience in using the blocks. Thus, the case study of UMMB diffusion and adoption among small-scale dairy farmers shows that even an intensive extension approach is unlikely to be effective unless the innovation that it promotes is perceived as relevant by the potential adopters and meets their needs or solves their problems. Benefits of UMMB were not visible to the milk producers, as for various reasons the animals did not lick adequate quantities of blocks. The milk producers were not greatly concerned about the long-term benefits of using UMMBs, as most of them were not engaged in systematic livestock care and consequently they did not notice these benefits.
PROSPECTUS OF TECHNOLOGY
The fast increasing human population pressure is reducing the land available for fodder production. However, the increased cereal production leaves abundant agro-industrial by-products, and UMMB has a great role to play in the profitable utilization of these byproducts, simultaneously reducing potential environmental pollution. Apart from the importance of UMMB in reproduction, as discussed earlier, there is a great potential role to play in meeting the nutritional needs of animals. The use of medicated blocks for control of endoparasites should be exploited in small ruminants. The authors’ have already started exploring the use of UMMB in solving the major problem of “delayed puberty” in buffaloes. The use of UMMB as carrier to deliver many herbal digestive stimulants, herbal galactagouges, herbal ecbolics, ionophores and anthelmintics is under consideration. Factors for successful development and use of UMMB technology The use of UMMB can be popularized among farming community probably due to the following reasons
Area under fodder crops is decreasing due to preference of farmers for cereal crops which has assured market. Due to poor soil health the deficiency of micro nutrients has also been observed in animals fodder and thus animals. Secondly, severe scarcity of quality feeds. The quality of feed available in the market is very poor. Very few progressive farmers are making feed at their home after taking training from the Krishi Vigyan Kendra. Moreover the higher cost and rigorous labour involved in preparation of feed at home will not promote entrepreneurship in this area. So the diets having N-containing supplement can increased milk production and reproductive efficiency of the animals.
Good demand for milk will encourage the farmers to take the dairy farming on commercial scale but for that productivity will be the key to survive in globalized
marketing. Farmers need animals having good health, higher milk productivity and less calving interval. This encourages farmers to use a supplement, such as UMMB, that can be produced at home using cheap, locally available, feed resources. Value addition in UMMB The value addition in the UMMB licks will further enhance the adoption of this technology among end users. Limited work on this aspect of UMMB use has been done in India. The incorporation of fenbendazole in UMMB led to 13 percent increase in milk production in buffaloes (Knox, 1995; Sanyal and Singh, 1995). Preliminary trials on
medicated blocks carrying Replanta, a herbal drug, hastened uterine involution and postpartum ovarian activity. Further work on his aspect needs to be taken up by the scientists. The supplementation of animal’s diet with UMMB is an effective mean of correcting nutrient deficits observed due to feeding of poor quality roughages. Its use as a feed supplement improved productivity of buffaloes and crossbred cows reared on straw-based diets. Similarly, high-cost concentrates can be replaced by UMMB licks. The studies showed that milk production could be sustained by providing UMMB without any concentrate up to outputs levels of 5 kg of milk per day. There is a need to extend this technology to a greater number of farmers through intensive extension efforts. Precautions
1. An UMMB cannot be used as a supplement for animals younger than 6 months, or by
animals which have not eaten anything for the whole day. 2. UMMB should not have more than 10% moisture.
3. UMMB should be stored at a dry place and must be protected from rainwater so that it
does not soften.
4. UMMB should be offered to the animal in the dry manger. 5. Consumption of too much UMMB must be prevented.
38 6. Animals must always be provided with clean drinking water.
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