Feed intake, milk yield and composition, and profitability of Horro Cows fed Rhodes grass hay supplemented with Ficus sur (Cv. Forssk) fruits
An experiment was conducted in Horro Guduru Wollega Zone, at Guduru Animal Production and Research Center (GAPRC) of Wollega University to evaluate the effect of Ficus sur (Cv. Forssk) fruits (FSF) supplementation on feed intake, milk yield, composition and profitability of Horro cows. Twelve healthy lactating Horro cows of similar lactation stage, body weight and condition were selected from GAPRC. All of the selected cows were in early (one weak to 10days) lactation stage. The experiment had three treatments with four replications arranged in a randomized complete block design to which 2-5 parities were used as blocking factor, and three cows were used per parity. The treatments were: T1, Rhodes grass hay +1.7kg Oat grain +0.8kg Noug seed cake, T2, Rhodes grass hay +0.56kg Noug seed cake+0.97kg oat grain +0.97kg FSF and T3, Rhodes grass hay +0.8kg Noug seed cake+ 1.7kg FSF. The experiment was conducted for 60 days, including 15 days of adaptation. Except for crude protein intake, there were significant (P<0.05) differences in total dry matter, organic matter, neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber intakes among treatment groups. Milk yields were increased with increase in levels of FSF in the diets. Except Lactose content, the compositions of milk were significantly differed (P<0.05) among treatment groups. Milk fat was highest for cows fed T1 diet. Supplementation of FSF was more profitable than those supplemented with oats grain (OG). In conclusion, supplementation of Horro cows with different proportion of FSF and OG maintained on basal diet of Rhodes grass hay has increased feed intake, milk yield and milk composition of dairy products. Due to high cost of agro industrial by products and cereal grains, it is advantageous to use FSF as supplement to improve milk production and composition, and profitability of Horro cows. Since FSF is promising energy supplement, further research is suggested to study the propagation and management of Ficus sur trees and estimation of their fruit yields.
Keywords: Feed intake Ficus sur Milk yield Composition Horro cows