Feed and fodder for livestock
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CTA. 2008. Feed and fodder for livestock. Rural Radio Resource Pack 08/1. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57152
How to keep your animals stocked up with fodder for hard times ahead
Feed and fodder for livestock Cue: Making hay is a vital activity for many smallscale livestock farmers. Hay is cut grass or legumes which have been dried and stored, so that they can be used as feed when other sources of food or pasture are not available. The grass is harvested at times when it is abundant, and then stored. The drying process is very important when making hay, because it needs to keep for a long time. If the hay is not completely dry, then moisture will attract fungus and bacteria, and the hay will become poisonous. In this interview, Excello Zidana speaks to Baxter Zimba of the Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development in Malawi. He asks Mr Zimba?s advice on how to make hay, and how to make sure that it is dry enough to be safe for use as livestock fodder. He beings by explaining that there are no rules to the art of making hay, but there is the need to ?strike a balance?. IN: ?We have to realise that? OUT: ?which they can supplement.? DUR?N: 4?28? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: That was Baxter Zimba speaking to Excello Zidana in Malawi. Do you know how to ?strike the balance?? What is the best time for making hay in your area? The interview comes from a resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Zimba We have to realise that when the grass is too small and nutritive value is also in small quantities but when it is also too old, then the nutritive value also goes down. So we have to strike a balance. The balance is if the type of forage we are talking about or grass is almost getting ripe, that is the time when we can cut it down and preserve it. Zidana So we should be saying that the feed that has high nutritive value is good for maximising animal products like milk. How should drying of feeds be done to achieve this? Zimba The moisture content in the feed is reduced to a point where it is not being attacked by microbes for fear that it can get rotten. You can cut it down into small pieces, you can add some additives to make sure that the fermentation goes faster and it gets preserved. Zidana And obviously when this process is taking place temperatures, I am talking of ideal temperatures, need to be considered. But now if you look at the prices for the temperature meters are expensive, how can smallscale farmers test the temperatures when they are doing this process? Zimba People from experience, from the very old days, they know when it is hot, they know when it is cold, and so on. They know that if you ensile the green material and there is no air that goes in there the temperatures will go high. And when you are conserving silage the type of temperature that will be found there will not be a normal ambient temperature it will be above the room temperature. There is a saying that make hay while? while the sun is shining. Why that is being said is because hay making can only be successful when it is sun shining and the weather is dry and that when they have cut the grass and they have to dry it, make sure that no water or rains fall on it, they should remove it immediately to tripods. We call them tripods, these are very simple structures which they can use to dry off there. So that even when it rains during the night or the following day they will still get on the hang and then they will still get dry because the idea is to reduce the moisture content in that product so that the microbes are not able to decompose it. Zidana The forage that is cut and left in the moist conditions go mouldy and mouldy forages are unpalatable and even dangerous to livestock due to mycotoxin poisoning. Is there any technique for deciding the best time and even the season when harvesting can be done to prevent this? Zimba If it is now getting mature you are forced, you have to preserve at that time so that you strike a balance on the amount of fodder and the amount of nutrients available in the product. Zidana Now let?s come to storage, when can storage be done and what is the ideal moisture content to consider when storing the dried feed and fodder? Zimba Where we talk of green materials conserved like silage and so on you have to use the pits, these are simple dug-up structures and then after you have ensiled it you have removed the air, you have removed some microbes that means you are sure enough that the material is going to be conserved. So you ensile it, in other words you make sure you seal it completely, you cut off the air because the air sometimes you have problems of bacteria which spoil our material like silage. Zidana As a technical man, now can you provide any advice to the livestock farmers and even those who have taken up preservation or conservation of feed as business on how they can make feeds that has high nutritive value? Zimba We are supposed to advise our farmers to make sure that they supplement, they also have to conserve either types of feed materials. In other words, during the rainy season or even during the dry season, they have to pile up some other types of ingredients, like for instance maize bran, the rice bran and so on, which they can supplement. End of track.