Livestock Research for Rural Development 27 (5) 2015 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Effect of concentrate feeding on the cost effective growth performance of F1 Local x Brahman bulls in Bangladesh

M M Rashid, M A Hoque, K S Huque1 and A K F H Bhuiyan

Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh-2202, Bangladesh,
1 Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute, Savar, Dhaka-1341, Bangladesh


Twelve Local x Brahman (LxB) bulls of average 20.01.5 months of age and 34320.0 kg live weight) divided into three equal groups were fed: a mixed concentrate diet (CON); 1:1 CON and UMS (Urea and Molasses impregnated Straw at a ratio of 3:15:82 on dry matter basis (DM)); and the UMS diet alone.

The average daily DM intake of CON group was 7.56 kg/head,; feeding UMS with concentrate at 1:1 ratio increased daily DM intake to 10.2 kg. The DM intake was reduced when UMS was fed alone. The apparent digestibility of DM and crude protein was highest for the CON treatment, and was reduced linearly with the increasing level of UMS. The average daily live weight gain was 954 and 873 for CON and CON:UMS and was reduced to 205 g/head on UMS alone. Feed conversion rate was 34.7 on UMS, much poorer than that of CON and CON:UMS. The feed cost of producing one kg live weight was calculated to be 2.26, 2.04 and 2.60 US$, respectively for the three diets. Considering feed conversion rate and cost per kg gain, a mixed diet of concentrate and UMS (1:1) is the most appropriate for F1 Local x Brahman crossbred bulls.

Keywords: Brahman crossbred, digestibility, urea-molasses-straw


A crossbreeding program of Brahman sire and local cows is being implemented by the Department of Livestock Services in different areas of Bangladesh in order to support the growing demand of beef. The Local x Brahman (LxB) F1 crossbred animals are expected to be a faster growing animals for profitable beef production. Their growth and carcass yield potentials may not be sufficiently exploited unless adequate nutrition both in terms of quantity and quality is ensured. Brahman beef animals are often raised on feedlot diets containing concentrate to roughage ratio of more than 50:50. Local farmers mostly fed rice straw to feed their cattle, and the straw, a poor quality roughage, failed to support even the maintenance requirement of energy and protein while it is fed alone. Farmers fatten their cattle using Urea-Molasses-Straw (UMS), an intimately mixed feed of the three ingredients at a ratio of 3:15:82 on dry matter basis, and it was reported to have an average daily live weight gain of 233g to 292 g/head of local bulls (Chowdhury and Huque 1998) without supplementation of conventionally mixed concentrates, and when the concentrates are supplemented to UMS at a range of 10 to 30 % of the diet an average daily gain from 418 to 800 g/head of local bulls weighing 90 to 170 kg with a range of feed conversion ratio (FCR) of 6.58 to 8.22 were reported (Huque and Sultana 2007). The feeding of a diet with fresh Napier to concentrate ratio of 1:1 to LxB F1 crossbred bulls yield an average daily live weight gain of 518 to 624 g/head with an average FCR of 10.2 to 15.8 (Roy et al 2013). Supplementation of straw with the concentrate even up to 73% may improve growth and feed conversion efficiency of local growing animals (Huque and Sultana 2007) but, increasing level of concentrate may affect benefit cost ratio of cattle fattening system, an enterprise developed in Bangladesh on the replenishment of depleted muscle of male cattle through biological manipulations.

Thus, the present research work was undertaken to determine the feeding effect of a sole concentrate or a sole UMS diet or their 1:1 mixed diet on the feed intake, digestibility and growth performance of F1 LxB bulls and its cost effectiveness.

Material and methods

Experimental animals, management and diets

The experiment was conducted at the Central Cattle Breeding and Dairy Farm, Savar, Dhaka for a period of 90 days from 19 April to 18 July, 2013. Twelve F1 LxB bulls of 18.5 to 21.5 months of age having an average live weight of 34320.0 kg were selected, kept in individual stalls adjusted with separate feeding and watering systems under a tin shed house. The bulls were fed a basal diet of UMS for 10 days to adjust the animal with the diet, and de-wormed with anthelmentics before the start of feeding the experimental diets. The animals were divided into three equal groups each with four animals. Keeping a group on the UMS diet (UMS) alone, the animals of other two groups were fed either with a 1:1 mixed diet of the UMS and a conventionally mixed concentrate (CON-UMS) containing 39% wheat bran, 54% crushed corn, 2% crushed khesari (Lathyrus sativus), 3% soyabean meal, 1% limestone and 1% common salt; or with the sole mixed concentrate diet of above composition (CON). The chemical composition of the feed ingredients used for the formulation of the mixed concentrate is shown in Table 1, while the dietary combination and the chemical composition of the experimental diets are shown in Table 2.

Table 1. Chemical composition of feed ingredients
Ingredient DM, % % in DM
Wheat bran 89.5 92.6 15.1 7.43 13.5
Corn crushed 89.7 98.4 9.90 1.65 6.81
Khesari crushed 90.0 97.3 25.6 2.67 15.0
Soybean meal 88.3 93.2 43.2 6.81 7.04
Rice straw 87.7 83.3 3.88 16.2 40.5
Molasses 81.5 - 2.93 - -
UMS 61.3 83.5 9.75 16.6 43.9
Concentrate 90.1 92.5 13.0 7.47 23.0
DM= Dry matter, OM=Organic matter, CP=Crude protein, ADF=Acid detergent fiber
Preparation of UMS

The required amount of urea, molasses and rice straw following the ratio of 3:15:82 on dry matter (DM) basis (Huque and Talukder 1995) were weighed and kept separately. The weighed amount of urea and molasses was dissolved in water (55% of the weight of fresh straw) and mixed thoroughly in a container, and a half of the total volume was sprayed on the total weighed amount dry and chopped straw kept spread on a polyethene sheet, mixed thoroughly and turned completely up side down. The rest of the solution was sprayed on the straw and mixed thoroughly again without allowing any seepage of the urea molasses solution. The UMS was prepared as and when it was required and kept on a concrete floor covered by a polythene sheet to protect from the sun or rain for feeding the animals. The feed ingredients for making mixed concentrate were weighed following the composition and mixed thoroughly and kept in safe place for feeding the animals.

Table 2. Formulation and chemical composition of diets (on DM basis)
Type of feed      
Concentrate, % 100
(ad libitum)
50 -
UMS, % - 50 100
(ad libitum)
DM, % 90.1 75.7 61.3
As % of DM
Crude protein 13.0 11.4 9.75
Organic matter 92.5 88.0 83.5
ADF 23.0 33.5 43.9
Ash 7.47 12.0 16.6
UMS = Urea-molasses-straw, DM=Dry matter,

The diets were fed ad libitum, and calculating the total daily DM intake of the diet CON-UMS, the 1:1 combination of the respective dietary components was maintained throughout the feeding period. The animals were fed twice daily once at 07:30 h and again at 15:30 h. Clean and fresh water was offered twice daily to all animals. The average amount of mineral supplements (di-calcium phosphate and salt) received by an animal of group CON or group UMS was calculated and mixed with 100 g concentrate mixture as carrier and offered daily to each animal of group UMS to minimize any difference in the supply of minerals to all groups.

Intake, digestibility and live weight gain

Daily feed offered to and refused by an individual animal were recorded and the animals were weighed every 15 days for a total period of 90 days including a 7 days digestibility trial after 60 days of growth trial. The cumulative 15-day live weights were regressed with the days of the trial to calculatly live weight gain of each of the animal. During the digestibility trial period in addition to weighing of feeds and refusals, feces of the individual animal was collected and weighed. Representative samples of feed, refusals and feces were collected and used for chemical analysis. The dry matter and crude protein of fresh feed, refusal and feces were analyzed during the collection period. In addition to that fresh dry matter of feeds and refusals were determined throughout the feeding period to adjust and ensure adlib feeding of the diets. A part of well-mixed fresh feces sample, collected every day from individual animal, was stored at -20C. At the end of collection period the stored feces were combined together and then used for the determination of DM, crude protein (CP), ash and acid detergent fiber (ADF) contents. Representative samples of feed and refusals were collected daily and stored in polythene bags for the analysis of proximate components and ADF.

Chemical analysis

A representative sample of feed ingredients, concentrate mixture, feces and left over were used for chemical (CP, ether extract and ash) analysis in the laboratory of Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI) following the methods of AOAC (1995), and the ADF and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) were analyzed following the method of Van Soest et al (1991). All the samples were analyzed in duplicate and mean values were recorded. The digestibility of nutrients was calculated according to Ibrahim and Olaloku (2000).

Analysis of cost of feeding

Cost of feeding was analyzed considering the present market price of feed ingredients and the cost of diets (Table 3). The cost was converted into US$ considering the average exchange rate of Bangladesh Bank (1 US$= 78.0 BDT) reported during the period of feeding of the animals.

Table 3. Price of feed ingredients (as fed basis)
Name of ingredient Price (BDT/kg) Price (US$/kg)
Wheat bran 24.00 0.31
Corn crushed 15.00 0.19
Khesari crushed 34.00 0.44
Soybean meal 49.00 0.63
Limestone 30.00 0.38
Common salt 9.00 0.12
Rice straw 3.00 0.04
Molasses 14.00 0.18
Urea 16.00 0.21
BDT=Bangladeshi Taka, US$=US Dollar
Statistical methods

The data were analyzed in an ANOVA of a completely randomized design using the General Linear Model (GLM) Procedure with SAS software (SAS 2003); significant differences in the response of the diets were determined by Duncan’s multiple-range at 5% level of probability (Steel and Torrie 1980).

Results and discussion

Feed intake

The daily dry matter intake of different diets expressed either in Kg/head or per cent live weight (% LW) differed among the three diets (Table 4). Feeding UMS with concentrate at 1:1 ratio (CON-UMS) resulted in daily DM intake of 10.2 Kg/head or 2.69%, respectively compared to 7.56 Kg/head or 1.99%, respectively of feeding mixed concentrate alone (CON) or 6.71 Kg/head or 1.94%, respectively of feeding UMS alone (UMS).

The highest crude protein intake was found in diet CON-UMS (1163 g/head) compared to the diet CON (984 g/head) or diet UMS (655 g/head). Huque and Chowdhury (1997) and Chowdhury and Huque (1998) reported a similar dry matter intake of a UMS diet when fed alone or with little concentrate supplementation to native bulls. Supplementation of concentrate at levels of 10 to 30% increased the DM intake (Rahman et al 2009).

Table 4. Feed intake and coefficients of apparent digestibility
  Diets* SEM p
Feed nutrient intake
DM (kg/d) 7.56b 10.2a 6.71c 0.46 <0.0001
DM (% of live weight) 1.99b 2.69a 1.94b 0.11 <0.0001
Digestibility (%)
DM 73.0 a 63.2 b 55.8 c 2.24 <0.0001
Organic matter 76.0 a 67.2 b 61.0 c 1.95 <0.0001
Crude protein 80.1 a 69.6 b 56.7 c 2.98 <0.0001
Acid detergent fiber 60.6 b 61.0 b 65.8 a 1.01 0.044
abc Values having different superscripts in the same row are different at p<0.05
SEM=Standard error of means
* CON=100% concentrate, CON-UMS =50% concentrate + 50% UMS, UMS=100% UMS

The digestibility of DM, OM and CP was higher in diet CON than in diet CON-UMS or diet UMS (Table 4). Digestibility of ADF was the highest in diet UMS.

Live weight gain and feed conversion rate

Increasing the level of mixed concentrate in the diets increased the rate of live weight gain and improved the feed conversion (Table 5; Figure 1).

Table 5. Growth performance of bulls fed different diets
Parameters Diets* SEM p
Live weight, kg
Initial 345 344 341 5.84 0.96
Final 433a 427a 359b 11.3 0.0009
Daily gain 0.954a 0.873a 0.205b 0.108 <0.0001
Feed utilization
DM conversion 7.94b 11.3b 34.7a 3.82 <0.0001
abc Values having different superscripts in the same row are different at p<0.05
DMI= Dry matter intake, LWG= Live weight gain, SEM=Standard error mean;
*CON= 100% concentrate, CON-UMS= 50%concentrate+50%UMS, UMS= 100% UMS

Different authors fed the UMS diet to native cattle and reported a daily gain of 157 to 292g (Huque and Chowdhury 1997; Chowdhury and Huque 1998; Rahman et al 2009). Supplementation of concentrate (42% to 50%) to UMS or silage increased daily live weight gain of native bulls (Rahman et al 2009; Islam and Rahman 2004; Islam et al 2003; Huque et al 2005; Huque et al 2006; Chowdhury 1998), and it ranged from 554 to 883 g/head. Roy et al (2013) reported daily gains of 519 to 624 g/head of Local x Brahman F1 crossbred bulls fed a diet of Napier grass supplemented with 50% concentrate.

Figure 1. Growth curves of the cattle during the experiment
Cost analysis

The daily feed cost was lowest, but the feed cost per unit liveweight gain was highest, for the UMS treatment (Table 6). Replacing 50% of an all-concentrate diet with urea-molasses impregnated straw reduced the cost of meat production.

Table 6. Feed cost of the different diets
Parameters Diets* SEM p
Feed cost (US$/d) 2.15a 1.84b 0.50c 0.22 <0.0001
Feed cost (US$/kg LW gain) 2.26 2.04 2.60 0.15 0.32
Dressing percentage 59.5 55.8 53.4 - -
Cost of meat production (US$/kg) 3.80 3.65 4.89 0.29 0.16
abc Values having different superscripts in the same row are different at p<0.05
US$= US Dollar, LW= Live weight
* CON= 100% concentrate, CON-UMS= 50%concentrate+50%UMS, UMS= 100% UMS
@ Dressing % was determined from slaughtering three bulls per group at the end of trial



We acknowledge the award of a PhD grant of the National Agricultural Technology Project of the Department of Livestock Services financed by the World Bank to the first author, and the help and the cooperation of the authority of the Central Cattle Breeding and Dairy Farm, Savar, Dhaka, especially, the continuous support of Zeenat Sultana and Mosharaf Hossain.


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Received 8 March 2015; Accepted 12 April 2015; Published 1 May 2015

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