Ensilage Of Sugarcane Tops Using Urea And Broiler Litter Additives
Sugarcane tops (SCT) constitute a source of readily available and cheap agroindustrial by-product for ruminant feeding in Mauritius. Its nutritional constraints are its low digestibility, and low crude protein (CP) content.
Wilted SCT (50% DM) was ensiled in the laboratory using a SemiMicro technique with PVC silos. Treatments comprised graded levels of urea (4%, 8%, 12%) and poultry (broiler) litter (BL) (10%, 20%, 30%). The quality of the silages was assessed after 42d storage.
The SCT-urea silages were alkaline, with increasing pH, with increasing concentrations of urea. SCT-BL silages were acidic with decreasing pH, with increasing levels of BL as additive. Both BL and urea treatments increased significantly (P<0.05) the initial CP content of SCT, with CP content increasing
with increases in the concentrations of urea and of BL. There was a significant decrease (P<0.05) in the content of neutral detergent fibre (NDF) in SCT-urea silage. There were no significant changes in the NDF of SCT, following treatment with BL.
The uses of SCT-urea and of SCT-BL in local ruminant feeding systems are discussed.
Keywords: sugarcane tops, urea, broiler litter, ensiling, quality of silage.