Livestock Research for Rural Development 24 (2) 2012 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Effect of feeding bypass nutrients to growing buffalo heifers under field conditions

S G Vahora, S Parnerkar* and K B Kore*

College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry,
Anand Agricultural University, Anand- 388 001 India.
* College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry,
Navsari Agricultural University, Navsari- 396 450 India.


A field study was conducted to study the effect of feeding bypass fat and bypass protein to  buffalo heifers in the Dahod district of Gujarat for a period of 90 days. Forty growing buffalo calves were divided in two groups consisting of one control group (CON) fed with a basal diet without  supplementation and other treatment group (BYNUTR) fed with basal diet plus bypass nutrients (extruded soybean meal as bypass protein @ 200g/head/d  and calcium salt of palm oil fatty acids as bypass fat @ 50g/d). Body weight and  measurements were recorded at fortnightly intervals. The economics of feeding was calculated.  

The results revealed that there were significant (P>0.001) improvement in average daily weight gain in the buffalo heifers of the BYNUTR group compared to CON group. Body length, height and heart girth were also increased in the BUNUTR group. Feeding of bypass nutrients decreased cost of feeding per kg live weight gain.

Keywords: Body weight gain, calcium salts of palm oil fatty acids, extruded soybean, paddy straw


Proteins and energy are most critical nutrients influencing the calf growth, however, minerals and vitamins are also important. Lower growth rate  is either due to underfeeding or imbalanced feeding, but genetics does play its role as well (Bhatti et al 2007). In most  developing countries, heifers are usually raised on poor quality fodders or agricultural byproducts  with limited amounts of concentrates low in protein and energy. To increase the efficiency of using dietary protein and fat, protected or bypass nutrients are suggested (Garg 1998). Bypass nutrient technology involves feed management through passive rumen manipulation.  Bypass nutrients escape rumen degradation  and then get digested and absorbed in the lower gastrointestinal tract (Yadav and Chaudhary 2010).  


That  ingested protein which escapes the microbial degradation in the rumen is called Bypass protein, it is also referred to as Undegradable intake protein or Undegradable dietary protein (UIP/UDP) as per NRC system (NRC 2001). Microbial protein is the cheapest of all the sources of protein for ruminants, which is very high in quality and exceeds most of the vegetable proteins in essential amino acid content. However,  rumen microbes cannot produce all the protein that animals need for maximum growth or production.  


The growth potential of calves can be fully exploited by incorporating fats in the ration. However, with ruminants offered roughage based diets, the upper level for inclusion of fat has been reported to be 20 to 30g/kg DM (Palmquist 1988). Beyond this level it decreases fibre digestibility. Thus in roughage based diets ruminants benefit from  rumen inert fat/bypass fat which gets absorbed readily from the lower digestive tract. Calcium salt of long chain fatty acids (Ca-LCFA) can be used in ruminants ration as bypass fat to increase the energy density of the ration without adversely affecting the DM intake and digestibility (Naik et al 2009). Palm oil, soybean oil, and other fat sources are hydrolyzed and reacted with Ca to form salts, which decreases their solubility (Sukhija and Palmquist 1990). Calcium salts of fatty acids were the second generation of rumen-inert fats. 


Growing animals have a very high requirement for amino acids for tissue synthesis and glucose for oxidation in specific tissues like brain. In addition considerable amounts of glucose must be oxidized to provide the NADPH (reduced nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide phosphate) required to synthesize fat from acetate. Hence, providing of bypass protein may help to provide the required supply of amino acids to growing animals (Preston 1986). Few studies have reported positive impact of feeding bypass nutrients on growth and nutrient utilization of buffalo calves (Bharadwaj et al 2000; Chatterjee and Walli 2003). Most of the studies on bypass nutrients are conducted either by using bypass protein or bypass fat individually and the reports related to their use in combination for growing buffalo heifers under field conditions are lacking. Hence, an experiment was conducted to study the effect of feeding bypass protein plus bypass fat on growth performance and cost of feeding in buffalo heifers.  

Materials and methods

Forty buffalo heifers (Avg. age of 7-10 month and body weight 171.013.52 kg) were divided in two statistically equal groups based on their age and body weight. The heifers in control group (CON) were fed with a basal diet containing ad libitum paddy straw and maize grain without any supplement and those in treatment group (BYNUTR) were fed a basal diet supplemented with bypass protein (extruded soybean meal, processing conditions: temperature- 160C, pressure- 200 atm. and time- 30 seconds) @ 200 g/h/d and bypass fat (calcium salts of palm oil fatty acids) 50g/h/d.  The animals were kept in  field conditions and fed  according to the routine feeding and management schedules at  he tfarms keeping records. The quantities of feed offered and left overs were recorded for each animal during the experimental period.


The feeds were analyzed for proximate constituent by the  methods of the AOAC (1995). For body measurements, body length, height and heart girth (HG) of individual animal were recorded for two consecutive days before feeding and watering at the beginning and thereafter every fortnight throughout the experimental period.  Body weights were calculated employing Mullick’s formula (Sastry et al 1983) in which  Body weight (kg) = [25.156 (HG) – 960.232] / 2.2. The economics of feeding was calculated from the cost of feeding per kg live weight gain for individual animals using data of feed intake and prevailing procurement price (Rs.) of individual feed ingredients and supplements. The data were analyzed statistically using standard methods (Snedecor and Cochran 1994) and significance was declared when P value was less than 0.05.

Results and Discussion

The proximate composition of the basal diet is given in Table 1.


Table 1. Proximate composition (% on DM basis) of the basal diet


Paddy straw






Crude protein





Ether extract





Crude fibre





Nitrogen fibre extract





Total ash






Body weight changes and economics of feeding


The data related to growth and economics of feeding is presented in Table 2. The initial body weight of heifers were almost similar in both the groups but there was significant improvement (P<0.001) in final body weight of heifers in bypass nutrient supplemented group compared to control.  Corroborating our results, there was significant increase in growth rate of Holstein calves supplemented with heat treated (at 171 C) whole soybean as bypass protein (Abdelgadir et al 1984) compared to those fed with raw soybean. Similarly, Raikwar and Thakur (2004) observed increased growth rate in crossbred calves supplemented with 4% of Ca salts of palm oil fatty acids. In line with our results, Gurung et al (2009) reported significantly (P<0.05) increased growth rate in crossbred calves supplemented with formaldehyde treated rapeseed meal. Earlier research demonstrated that use of fishmeal as a bypass protein increased dramatically growth rate and feed efficiency of cattle (Preston and Leng 1984). Other workers also reported increase in growth rate of buffalo calves supplemented with formaldehyde treated protein meals (ground nut cake, Mustrad cake) as bypass protein (Chartterjee and Walli 2003; Tiwari and Yadava 1994). Similar to our results, Casper et al (1994) found higher daily gain in Holstein heifers when fed with barley+extruded soybean compared to barley+raw soybean.


Table 2. Body weight changes and economics of feeding as influenced by supplementation of bypass nutrients to the experimental animals





P value

Body weight changes (kg)















Total gain





Average daily gain





Economics of feeding





Cost of feeding Rs. / kg live weight gain





a,bValues in same row with different superscripts differ at P<0.05


In tropical countries including India, the main feed resources are poor quality crop residues for feeding of most livestock, hence feeding bypass protein has positive effects by stimulating voluntary feed intake through  improvement of nutrient balance of end products of digestion which leads to  more rapid metabolism and utilization. This is in addition to the role of bypass protein in complementing the amino acids supplied by microbial protein (Preston 1986). There was significant increase (P<0.001) in total gain in body weight as well as average daily gain in BYNUTR group of buffalo heifers compared to control (Figure 1). Similarly, earlier studies found significantly (P<0.01) higher average daily gain in buffalo calves supplemented with formaldehyde treated protein meals as bypass protein (Patel et al 2009) and calcium salt of palm oil fatty acids @ 2.5% of DMI  as bypass fat (Kumar and Thakur 2007). It was stated that supplementation of bypass nutrients to poor quality diets based on crop residues, sugar-rich agroindustrial byproducts and/or mature grasses have had much greater beneficial effects as compared to their supplementation to diet based on cereal grains and concentrates (Preston 1986).


Figure 1. Influence of feeding bypass nutrient on body weight gain in
buffalo heifers (CON- control; BYNUTR- Bypass nutrients)


Although, the total cost of feeding was increased in treatment group (data not shown), the cost of feeding per kg live weight gain was significantly (P<0.001) lower in the bypass nutrient supplemented group (BYNUTR) in comparison to the control animals (CON).  

Body measurements  

Recent research has given us the ability to define replacement heifer growth to a greater degree of accuracy. In the past, growth has always been defined as weight gain per day. Other body size criteria such as wither height, body condition score, body length, height, hearth girth and pelvic area are now available to aid growth definitions. Where possible, these measurements should be used because they are   more often related to animal performance and health than body weight alone. 

There was significant influence of supplementing bypass fat and protein on body measurements of  heifers (Table 3). The body length, height and heart girth were significantly increased in treatment group than control.  Similarly, there was improvement in wither height and heart girth of growing calves due to supplementation of roasted soybean as a source of bypass protein (Abdelgadir et al 1996).  The present findings confirms Patel et al (2009) who reported significantly (P<0.01) increased body measurements, except body length, in buffalo calves fed with bypass protein. Gurung et al (2009) also reported significant (P<0.05) effect of feeding formaldehyde treated rapeseed meal on heart girth  but not on body length and height.  

Body measurements are accurate growth indicators and are less susceptible to environmental variation than body weight (Brody 1945; Baker et al 1988). External measurements have been used to accurately predict body weight of heifers (Heinrichs et al 1992). Similar to our results, Bethard et al (1997) reported increased body wither height when growing heifers were fed with a ration containing high energy and undegradable dietary protein compared to control diet. However, there was no effect of feeding calcium salt of palm oil fatty acids @ 2.5% of DMI as a bypass fat on body measurement of buffalo calves (Kumar and Thakur 2007).

Table 3. Effect of feeding bypass nutrients on body measurements of experimental animals





P value

Body length




















Wither height




















Heart girth




















a,bValues in same row with different superscripts differ at P<0.05


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Received 18 January 2012; Accepted 30 January 2012; Published 7 February 2012

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