Livestock Research for Rural Development 23 (8) 2011 Notes to Authors LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

The effect of feed supplementation on the productive and reproductive performance of nomadic dairy herds under range condition of Kordofan state, Sudan

A O Idris, M M M Ahmed*, Y H Almansoury**, A M Salih*** and M B Elemam****

Faculty of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, Peace University, P.O. Box 20, El Fulla, Sudan.
* Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Khartoum, P.O. Box 321, Khartoum, Sudan.
** Veterinary Research Laboratories, Soba, Khartoum, Sudan.
*** Faculty of Animal Production, University of Khartoum, P.O. Box 32, Khartoum-North, Sudan.
**** Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Kassala, P.O. Box 12, New-Halfa, Sudan.
abuelgoni2002@hotmail.com

Abstract

Two experiments were done in north Kordofan state to evaluate the effect of concentrate supplementation on productive and reproductive performance of grazing nomadic Fuga cows during different periods of the year. In  the first experiment 36 cows were selected from nomadic herd. Animals were divided at random into three groups, group So-G was supplemented with a high-energy, high-protein feed, group So received a medium-energy medium-protein supplement, and group SB-RE received a low-energy low-protein concentrate mixture. The trial was carried out during the late dry season. Results indicated that cows supplemented with So-G had the highest milk yield, highest body weight and body condition. In the second experiment, the same groups of animals used in the first experiment were mode used. They were supplemented with the same experimental rations as in the first experiment. The trial was carried out after the rainy season, when the cows were at their mid-lactation.

The results obtained indicated differences in milk yield among the experimental groups. The progesterone profile showed variation in days from calving to ovulation and to conception within and between the experimental groups. The study also showed that cows supplemented with So-G and So conceived in shorter intervals.

Keywords: Fuga cows, performance, productive, reproductive, supplementation


Introduction

The Sudan is a large country of variable ecological zones ranging from desert in the North to tropical forests in the South. The country holds a large livestock population, of which large and small ruminants are estimated as 133 million head (FAO 2009). This stock is raised under traditional pastoral nomadic systems involving extensive seasonal migratory movements in search of water and pasture. The stock is thus subjected to combinations of stress such as long journeys, extensive heat, insufficient water supply, and scarcity and low nutritive quality of pasture particularly during the long dry season.

Nomadic dairy herds are raised within pastoral system in the western Sudan (North Kordofan State). They spend the rainy season in home territories (in the  north) and move to the south in the dry season. Nutritional limitation constitutes one of the most important productivity constraints for these nomadic herds, where the natural pasture becomes more deficient in energy, protein and essential minerals during a long period of the year.


Material and Methods

  Study area

This study was carried out in Sheikan Province, North Kordofan State (Sudan), which is located in semi-arid desert zone. The province is located between 12:25-13:45 N and 29:35-30:30 E. The average annual rain fall was estimated at 280 mm in El Obied Agricultural Research Station (1999) and the relative humidity is uniformly low ranging between 22-25% in the dry season.

Experiment 1:

Experiment 1 was conducted to study the effect of supplementary concentrate feeding during the late dry season (June to July) on body condition, body weight, and milk production and reproduction performance of cows in the early lactation period.

Thirty-six cows of local breed (Fuga) were selected from nomadic herds on the basis of approximate similarity in age, weight, stage of lactation and number of calving (Photo 1 and 2). Animals were divided at random into three groups (So-G, So, and SB-Re) and supplemented   in treatment groups after grazing with experimental rations.  The first group was supplemented with   a high-energy, high-protein mixture (So-G), the second group received a medium-energy, medium-protein (So) supplement, while the third group received a low-energy, low-protein concentrate mixture (SB-Re) (Table1).

Table 1: Percentage composition (DM basis) of concentrate mixtures and chemical composition

 

So-G

So

SB-Re

Sorghum grain

50

75

-

Ground nut cake

25

-

-

Sorghum grain brewery residue

-

-

75

Wheat brain

24

24

24

Common salt

1

1

1

Chemical composition, % DM

 

 

 

Crude protein

15.0

10.8

6.1

Crude fiber

2.7

7.3

23.1

Ether extract

9.3

2.9

0.1

Nitrogen free-extract

64.0

69.7

63.0

Ash

4.5

5.6

4.9

ME (Mj/Kg D.M)

14.1

12.3

10.7

So-G = high-energy, high-protein, So = medium-energy medium-protein and SB-Re =low-energy low-protein

The cows were at their early lactation and were fed their respective concentrate mixture for six weeks at the rate 2 kg/cow/day after grazing on the available natural pasture. Records were taken for daily milk yield, body weight and body condition score. Milk samples were taken to determine progesterone profiles to evaluate days from calving to ovarian activity and days from calving to conception. Animal weights were estimated by measuring the cow girth behind the hump using weight–band (tape) at calving, 30, 60 and at 90 days after calving. The body score measurements were determined according to a 1 to 9 scale, in which the three main conditions were fat (F), medium (M) and lean (L), the main condition divided into three categories as follows: F+, F, F-, M+, M, M-, L+, L, L-. Where 1 L- indicates emaciated animals and 9 F+ indicates fat animals (Nicholson and Butterworth 1986). The measurements were taken at calving and then at 30, 60 and 90 days after calving.

 The progesterone concentration in the milk was determined to confirm ovarian activity and conception. It was determined by radioimmunoassay method using FAO/IAEA kits (1986).

Photo 1. Local breed of Fuga cows


Photo 2. Milking in the evening
Experiment 2:

The second experiment was carried out during the period directly after the rainy season (October to November) when natural pasture was abundant and nutritive value of the grasses was relatively high. The experiment was in the form of feeding trial, using the same experimental animals and the same rations which were used in Experiment 1 (Table 1). The cows were at advanced stage of lactation in the three months post-partum (mid-lactation). The same experimental procedure and observations used in Experiment 1 were followed. Records were taken of daily milk yield and measurements for weight, body condition score, and progesterone profile were done to calculate reproductive performance as in Experiment 1.

Chemical analysis

Experimental rations were subjected to the proximate analysis, according to (AOAC 1980).

Statistical analysis:

Analysis of variance according to Gomez and Gomez (1984) was applied to determine significances of difference between treatments in Experiment I and Experiment II.  Independent variables in the model included supplement and season while dependent variables included daily milk yield,  Individual cows (N=12) were considered experimental units, hence there were 12 replications. Multiple means were separated by Least Significant Differences where appropriate and differences were considered significant at P ≤ 0.05.


Results

The result of milk yield during the early lactation (Experiment 1) and mid-lactation (Experiment 2) is shown in Tables 2 and 3. Milk yield was great for cows fed So-G, followed by those supplemented with So and the lowest for the cows on SB-Re for experiment1, in experiment 11, cows fed with So-G recorded highest milk yield than other groups.

Table 2: Effect of supplementary feeding on milk yield of cows used in Experiment 1

 

So-G

So

SB-Re

SE

Experimental period (weeks)

6

6

6

 

Total milk yield (Kg)

296.8a

220.9b

144.0 c

13.7*

Daily milk yield (Kg/cow)

6.9a

5.4b

3.5 c

0.20*

a, b, c= Means in the same rows with different letters are  different .

ES = Standard errors of estimate   

* = Significant at  P ≤ 0.05



Table 3: Effect of supplementation on milk yield of cows used in Experiment 2.

 

So-G

So

SB-Re

SE

Experimental period (weeks)

8

8

8

 

Total milk yield (Kg)

213.8a

178.7b

123.6c

5.6*

Daily milk yield (Kg/cow)

5.9a

2.9b

2.9b

0.15*

a, b, c= Means in the same rows with different letters are  different  .

ES = Standard errors of estimate. 

* = Significant at  P ≤ 0.05

The results of body weight (Table 4 and Figure 1) indicated that live body weight at calving was similar for the groups of the animals at 30 days post-calving. Live weight decreased for all groups of animal.  Cows fed with So-G had greater live weight gain than those fed with So and SB-Re (Figure 1). These differences in live weight gains between the groups were maintained for the live weight at 60 and 90 days after calving.

Body condition scores at calving were not different (Table 4). The body score were decreased at 30 days post-calving for all groups of animals. The highest score was attained with So-G group and the lowest with So group. Figure 2 shows body score of the 90 days post-calving period. The body score declined sharply from calving to 30 days post-calving for the three experimental groups and to the some extent at 60 days post-calving but was then followed by a sharp rise of body score at 90 days. The pattern of body score followed, to large extend, the pattern of live weight changes in Figure 1 and Table 4.

Table 4: Body weight and body condition score (calving to 90 day post-calving) in cows (Mean ES) 

Item

Rations

ES

SB-Re

So

So-G

1-Body weight

 

 

 

 

Calving body weight (Kg)

9.9 NS

291.3

273.8

332.3

30-days post-calving body weight (Kg)

9.1*

256.8b

270.3b

326.7a

60-days post-calving body weight (Kg)

9.3*

264.8b

266.2b

323.8a

90-days post-calving body weight (Kg)

9.1*

264.8b

261.8b

324.0a

2-Body condition score:

 

 

 

 

Calving body condition score

0.3NS

3.8

5.1

4.8

30-days post-calving body condition score

0.2*

3.1b

4.2ab

4.4a

60-days post-calving body condition score

0.3*

2.9b

4.4a

4.2ab

90-days post-calving body condition score

0.2*

3.9ab

2.7b

5.0a

a, b, c= Means in the same rows with different letters are different .

ES = Standard errors of estimate.

  NS = Not significant.


Figure1. Cow body weight from calving to 90 days post-calving for three experimental groups, So-G = high-energy, high-protein, So = medium-energy medium-protein and SB-Re =low-energy low-protein in the Sudan.



Figure 2. Body condition score from calving to 90 days post-calving for the three experimental groups, (So-G = high-energy, high-protein, So = medium-energy medium-protein and SB-Re =low-energy low-protein) in the Sudan.

Table 5 shows the number of days from calving to first sustained progesterone rise in milk for the three experimental groups of animals. Days from calving to conception are shown in the same table.

Interval from calving to conception was shorter for cows fed with So-G  followed by So group, and longer for group SB-Re cows.  The So-G cows conceived within 90 days while group SB-Re had the greatest percent of cows conceiving during 90-120 days from calving (Table 6). These results indicate a superior reproductive performance of group So-G cows over the performance of the other experimental groups (Table 7).

Table 5:  Day from calving to first progesterone rise (P4) and days from calving to conception in cows (Mean ES)

Interval (days) from calving to conception

Interval (days) from calving to first (P4) rise

Group

So-G

57.238.20

100.1 35.6a

So

73.331.29

105.431.2a

SB-Re

74.643.98

139.324.5b

a, b= Means in the same column with different letters are different

So-G= high-energy high-protein

So= medium-energy medium-protein

SB-RE = low-energy low-protein



Table 6: Percentage of cows ovulating within difference ranges (days) in cows fed three supplements

Range in days

Group So-G N=12

%

Group So N=12

%

Group SB-Re  N=12

%

All groups N=36

%

15-45

(5)

41.7

(3)

25

(4)

33.3

(12)

33.3

46-60

(1)

8.3

(1)

8.4

(4)

33.3

(6)

16.7

61-90

(4)

33.3

(4)

33.3

(3)

25.0

(11)

30.6

91-120

(2)

16.7

(4)

33.3

(1)

8.4

(7)

19.6

120

(0)

0

(0)

0

(0)

0

(0)

0

Figures in parenthesis indicate number of animals ovulating.

So-G= high-energy high-protein, So= medium-energy medium-protein, SB-RE = low-energy low-protein



Table 7: Percentage of cows conceived wit in difference ranges (days) of cows fed three supplements.   

Range in days

Group So-G N=12

%

Group So N=12

%

Group SB-Re  N=12

%

All groups N=36

%

30-60

(2)

16.7

(1)

8.3

(0)

0

(3)

8.3

61-90

(4)

33.3

(1)

8.3

(1)

8.3

(6)

16.7

91-120

(2)

16.7

(7)

58.4

(1)

8.3

(10)

27.8

121

(3)

2.5

(2)

16.7

(10)

83.4

(15)

41.7

NC

(1)

8.3

(1)

8.3

(0)

0

(2)

5.5

Figures in parenthesis indicate number of animals conceived

NC = Animals not conceive

So-G= high-energy high-protein,

So= medium-energy medium-protein

SB-RE = low-energy low-protein

Discussion

Under the conditions of the present experiment, it was evident that pos-partum supplementary feeding resulted in improved milk yield (Table 3) and reproductive performance of grazing nomadic Fuga milking herd.  In Experiment 1 and Experiment 2, milk production improved with supplementation of high-energy concentrate mixtures during early or mid-lactation. This finding is in line with those published by Hoogendroon and Griever (1970), Ali (1991) and Eltaher (2000). Also Arrigaga et al. (1980) and Tag-Elsir et al (1988) reported that supplementation of grazing cows with concentrate increased milk yield.

The results of the present study indicated that body condition score of the cows at calving was generally low and it was further reduced as milk yield increased. Body score declined sharply from calving to 30 days post-calving for all cows (Figure 2) and to some extent at 60 days post-calving, followed by a sharp rise at 90 days after calving. The cows supplemented after calving with high energy concentrate mixtures lost less body condition than the cows on medium and low energy density (Figure 2). These results were in line with a number other studies (Jones and Garnsworthly 1988 and Oldman and Kyrisasis 1993).

The loss in body condition score of the experimental cows during early lactation is an indication of the mobilization of the body reserve for milk production. The nutrients supplied by both grazed forage and concentrate mixtures seemed to be inadequate to satisfy the increasing total nutrient requirements for milk production during the first two months of lactation.

These values however, indicated relatively long post-partum and an oestrous period for the cows, which are common for indigenous cows under tropical grazing conditions (Gosh et al 1993). This explanation is in line with the findings of Richards et al (1989), Whright et al (1987), Selk et al (1988) and Gosh et al (1993).

The conception interval range (days) from calving was a shorter for So-G cows, followed by group So cows and relatively longer for group SB-Re cows (Table 9). These results follow the same pattern of the resumption of the ovarian activity and the restorement of the body condition of the cows.


Conclusion


Acknowledgement

My thanks go to Yousif Hussein and to Dr. Ali Mohamoud Shamat. My thanks also extend to Prof. Faroug M. Elamin for statistical analysis. I'm grateful to the nomadic herd owners without whom it would have been impossible to achieve this work.


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Received 16 April 2011; Accepted 13 July 2011; Published 3 August 2011

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