Evaluation of the efficiency of continuous and single batch curing on palatability, production and nutrients availability on wheat straws
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In Kenya, many farmers are engaging in wheat production throughout the year, this makes the availability of straws huge. However, the presence of lignocellulosic complex makes their palatability and general intake limited. Intake also has been reduced by the rigid procedures available to the farmers. The nutritional value for wheat crop residue to ruminants is constrained by low nitrogen and high fibre contents. Introducing the continuous procedure of urea – ammonization and liming intends to take advantage of the excess ammonia on the already cured feed and the peak volumes of urease enzymes to quickly break urea to ammonia which is known to cure feeds in synergy with lime. Urea-Ammonization and liming of straws seem to be a feasible option for improving nutritive value, hence reducing the limiting effects of livestock production through feeds in the country. Treated wheat straws samples were ground in the laboratory hammer mill and the sample sieved through a 1mm screen and then analyzed in a laboratory to study the associative effect of ammonia and lime on the chemical composition of straws. The study analyzed for dry matter, total ash and crude protein of feed types. Data collection covered result from the three dairy cows in the three replicates. The dairy cows selected were those on zero-grazing setup and feeding will be uniform. The nine dairy cows, in three replicates were put on trials for a period of eighty four days. Specific data is on palatability and production of milk from benefits from treated straws on procedures of continuous and single batch methods of applying treatment. Secondly, with respect to the effect of effect of a single batch and continuous curing of wheat straw on dry matter intake by lactating dairy cows, the study concludes that there is no statistically significant difference in dry matter intake of wheat straw between single batch and continuous curing of wheat straw. However, urea treatment of wheat improves dry matter of wheat straw since there were significant differences in the amount of dry matter intake between treated and untreated wheat straw. Finally, in terms of the effect of a single batch and continuous curing of wheat straw on daily milk production of lactating dairy cows, it is concluded that urea treatment increases average daily milk production increased by approximately 20 %. However, the average differences are not statistically significant whenever the lactating cows are fed on continuously cured and single batch cured wheat straws. The study recommends that that dairy farmers should endeavour to utilize this technology to improve not only feed utilization efficiency of their dairy stock but also milk production which will ultimately lead to economic efficiency and higher profit margins. The non-significant differences between dry matter intake and average daily milk production of lactating cows when fed on either single batch of continuously cured wheat straw serves to advise dairy farmers that they should judiciously adopt continuously curing model which reduces the time taken to have the cured feeds available for consumption by dairy cattle.