Livestock Research for Rural Development 21 (7) 2009 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD News

Citation of this paper

Effects of supplementation with cassava leaf meal before and after calving on birth weight, growth rate of calves and body weight change of buffalo cows in smallholder farms

Mai Van Sanh

National Institute of Animal Sciences (NIAS)
Thuy Phuong – Tu Liem – Hanoi - Vietnam
mvsanh@netnam.vn

Abstract

Sixty pregnant buffalo cows 6-8 years of age with body weight of about 350 kg were used in the experiment to evaluate the effects of supplementation of cassava leaf meal (CLM) before and after calving on birth weight, growth rate of calves and body weight change of buffalo cows. The experimental animals were allocated into four groups (15 each) with a randomized block design. CLM was supplemented 1 kg/day per head as follows: two months before and after calving (2A2B), two months before calving (2B); two months after calving (2A) and control with no supplement (C).  

Calf birth weight on 2A2B was similar to 2B (25.8 and 25.2 kg) but higher than for 2A and C (23.5 and 23.2 kg); the body weight at 3 months of age was highest in 2A2B (70.0 kg), intermediate in 2B and 2A (62.5 and 62.8 kg) and lowest in C (57.3 kg). At 3 months after calving all cows had lost weight compared to 2 months before calving (22.6, 32.0, 36.6 and 45.4 kg for 2A2B, 2B, 2A and C group respectively).

It is concluded that supplementation with CLM before and after calving improved the body weight of buffalo cows, and the birth weight and growth rate of the calves.

Key words: CLM, grass, grazing, pregnancy, rice straw, Vietnam


Introduction

In late pregnancy, the foetus develops quickly and nutrient requirements of buffalo cows are increased. After calving, they require also high nutrient level to recover the lost body weight and to produce milk for the calf. In the farmer condition, pregnant buffalo cows are fed mainly on roughages without supplementation of concentrate. This diet does not cover the animal requirements for nutrients. In many cases, buffalo cows have to use their body reserves to cover this requirement during the transition period, resulting in further loss of body weight and extended recovery time. Oestrous post calving is delayed leading to a long calving interval. The level of feeding (especially of protein) before and after calving influences the birth weight and growth rate of the calf, and the milk yield and body weight of the cow (Preston and Leng 1987)..

This study aimed to evaluate the response of buffalo cows to supplementation with cassava leaf meal (CLM) before and after calving in terms of birth weight and growth rate of the calf and body weight changes of the cow. The overall objective was to recommend a suitable feeding strategy to enhance the production potential of buffaloes in smallholder farms.


Materials and methods

Location

The experiment was carried out in Van Hoa village, Ba Vi, Ha Tay, where the mean annual air temperature is 22-23C and the relative humidity 85-86 %.

Animals and experimental design

Sixty pregnant buffalo cows, 6-8 years of age with body weight of about 350 kg were allocated into four groups according to a randomized block design taking account of  body weight and age. Cassava leaf meal was provided before and / or after calving (Table 1):


Table 1.  Allocation  of treatments

 

2 months before calving

2 months after calving

2B2A

1 kg/day of CLM

1 kg/day of CLM

2B

1 kg/day of CLM

No supplement

2A

No supplement

1 kg/day of CLM

C

No supplement

No supplement


Feeding and management

During the experimental period, all buffalo cows were grazed freely and fed rice straw ad libitum in the shed. Cassava leaf meal was fed in the evening. The calves were kept with their dams full time and were suckled freely until weaning. In addition, the calves were given green grass and water ad libitum throughout the experiment.


Table 2.  Proximate analysis of feeds used in the experiment

 

 

DM, %

g/kg dry matter

CP

CF

EE

ME,  MJ/kg DM

Natural grasses

24.1

108

286

29

8.7

Dry rice straw

86.4

44

345

15

4.5

Cassava leaf meal

89.5

28

155

94

10.4

CP crude protein, CF crude fiber, EE Ether extract, ME metabolizable energy

Data collection and sample analysis

Calves were weighed at birth and every month until 3 months of age. Buffalo cows were weighed two months before calving and every month until two months after calving. Weights were taken in the early morning by electronic scale before the animals were offered feed.

Statistical analysis

Data were analyzed using the General Linear Model (ANOVA) option in the Minitab statistical software version 13.0.
 

Results

Body weight of calves from birth to 3 months of age

Body weights of calves at birth and at 3 months of age were highest in treatment 2B2A, followed by 2B, 2A and were lowest  in C (Table 3 and Figure 1).


Table 3.  Body weight at birth, 1, 2 and 3 months of age of calves from buffalo cows supplemented with CLM 2 months before and 2 months after calving (2B2A), 2 months before calving (2B), 2 months after calving (2A) or not supplemented (C)

Age of calves

2B2A

2B

2A

C

SEM

At birth

25.8a

25.2a

23.5b

23.2b

0.43

1 month

41.6a

38.9b

36.8b

34.2c

0.56

2 months

55.9a

51.5b

50.2b

46.5c

0.82

3 months

70.0a

62.3b

62.8b

57.3c

0.64

a,b,c Means in the same row with different superscripts differ at P<0.05



Figure 1.  Body weight at birth, 1, 2 and 3 months of age of calves from buffalo cows supplemented
with CLM 2 months before and 2 months after calving (2B2A), 2 months before
calving (2B), 2 months after calving (2A) or not supplemented (C)


 Weight gain of calves

Weight gain of calves from birth to 3 months of age followed the same trends as for body weight (Table 4; Figure 2). Growth rates of the control (C) were similar to those reported by Mai Van Sanh (2006) in a study under farmer conditions without supplementation.


Table 4. Average daily weight gain (g/day) from birth to 3 months of age of calves from buffalo cows supplemented with CLM 2 months before and 2 months after calving (2B2A), 2 months before calving (2B), 2 months after calving (2A) or not supplemented (C)

 

2B2A

2B

2A

C

SEM

1st month

527a

457b

443b

367c

15.18

2 nd month

477a

420b

447ab

410b

25.70

3 rd month

470a

360b

420ab

360b

20.86

Average

491a

412bc

437ab

379c

6.51

a,b Means in the same row in with different superscripts differ at P<0.05



Figure 2. Daily weight gain from birth to 3 months of age of calves from buffalo cows
supplemented with CLM 2 months before and 2 months after calving (2B2A), 2 months
before calving (2B), 2 months after calving (2A) or not supplemented (C)


 Change of body weight of buffalo cows

From 2 to 1 month before calving all buffalo cows gained weight but it was different between 2B2A and 2B compared to 2A and C (Tables 5 and 6;  Figure 3). All cows lost weight from 1 month before calving to birth; no difference was observed among treatments. At two months after calving, total weight lost was greatest for C and least for 2B2A with intermediate values for 2B and 2A.


Table 5.  Body weight (kg) of buffalo cows supplemented with CLM 2 months before and 2 months after calving (2B2A), 2 months before calving (2B), 2 months after calving (2A) or not supplemented (C)

 

2B2A

2B

2A

C

SEM

2 months before calving

370

371

364

373

8.06

1 month before calving

385

387

371

380

8.11

At birth

359

361

345

354

8.01

1 month after calving

354

350

336

340

7.85

2 months after calving

347

339

327

327

8.05



Figure  3.  Body weight changes of buffalo cows supplemented with
CLM 2 months before and 2 months after calving (2B2A), 2 months
before calving (2B), 2 months after calving (2A) or not supplemented (C)



Table 6.  Body weight change of buffalo cows (kg) in each month during the experiment

 

2B2A

2B

2A

C

SEM

2 -1 month before calving

15.0a

15.6a

6.7b

7.0b

0.70

1 month before to birth

-25.7

-26.3

-25.9

-25.7

0.79

At birth to 1 month after calving

-4.7a

-11.2b

-9.2b

-14.1c

0.73

1- 2 months after calving

-7.2a

-10.1b

-8.2a

-12.6b

0.64

Total body weight change

-22.6a

-32.0b

-36.6b

-45.4c

1.26

a,b,c Means in the same row with different superscripts differ at P<0.05


Discussion

Birth weight and growth rates of calves are affected by genetic and environmental factors such as breed, feeding level, sex, season and parity of the dams (Na-Chiangmai et al 1998; Thevamanoharan et al 2001). The growth of the fetus and of other products of conception occurs slowly during the early stages of gestation. About one third of the total products of conception is produced during the first 7-8 months of the gestation period, while two thirds are produced in the last 2-3 months. The growth of the fetus in the last three months is accompanied by increases in essential membranes and fluids. For mature buffaloes, some additional nutrients above maintenance requirements are needed during the early period, but more nutrients are required for fetal development during the last 2-3 months of gestation. Increasing the nutrient intake will also prepare them for the ensuing lactation, resulting in increase in milk yield, especially during early stages of lactation.

The effect of cassava leaf meal in reducing weight loss in the buffalo cows and inducing faster growth rates in their calves is in line with the reports of  beneficial effects on growth rates of fattening cattle from supplementation with fresh cassava foliage (Ffoulkes and Preston 1978; Seng Mom et al 2001), sun-dried foliage (Keo Sath et al 2008) and cassava leaf meal (Ho Thanh Tham et al 2008).   Similar results were found when ensiled cassava foliage was fed to goats  (Ho Bunyeth and Preston 2006).


Conclusions

Supplementation of buffalo cows with cassava leaf meal:

Acknowledgements

The author is grateful for the financial support from the Swedish Agency for Research Co-operation with Developing Countries (SAREC), through the MEKARN regional project. Thanks are also due to Trinh Van Trung and Nguyen Cong Dinh for their help in conducting the experiment.


References

Ffoulkes D and Preston T R 1978 Cassava or sweet potato forage as combined sources of protein and roughage in molasses based diets: effect of supplementation with soybean meal. Tropical Animal Production (3) :186-192  http://www.utafoundation.org/TAP/TAP33/3_3_1.pdf

Ho Bunyeth and Preston T R 2006 Growth performance and parasite infestation of goats given cassava leaf silage, or sun-dried cassava leaves, as supplement to grazing in lowland and upland regions of Cambodia. Livestock Research for Rural Development. Volume 18, Article No. 28.  http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd18/2/buny18028.htm

Ho Thanh Tham, Ngo Van Man and Preston T R 2008 Performance of young cattle fed rice straw sprayed with mixture of urea and molasses supplemented with different levels of cassava leaf meal Livestock Research for Rural Development. Volume 20, Article #91. Retrieved , from  http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd20/supplement/tham1.htm

Keo Sath, Khieu Borin and Preston T R 2008 Effect of levels of sun-dried cassava foliage on growth performance of cattle fed rice straw Livestock Research for Rural Development. Volume 20, Article #87. Retrieved , from  http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd20/supplement/sath2.htm

Mai Van Sanh 2006 Effects of body size of buffalo bulls on growth of buffalo calves. Journal of Animal Science and Technology  3: 1-8 (in Vietnamese). 

Na-Chiangmai A, Khadee S and Onwan N 1998  The environmental effects on growth traits of swamp buffaloes. Buffalo Newsletter, No 10: 10-11.  

Preston T R and Leng R A 1987 Matching ruminant production systems with available resources in the tropics and subtropics. Penambul books, Armidale, NSW, Australia.

Seng Mom, Preston T R, Leng R A and ter Meulen  U 2001 Effect of a single drench of cooking oil on the rumen ecosystem and performance of young local "yellow" cattle fed rice straw and cassava foliage. Livestock Research for Rural Development. Volume 13, http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd13/4/seng134.htm

Thevamanoharan K, Vandepitte W, Mohiuddin G and Chantalakhana C 2001  Environmental factors affecting various growth traits of swamp buffalo calves. Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Sciences  38: 3-10



Received 1 April 2009; Accepted 22 June 2009; Published 1 July 2009

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