An on farm research was conducted in Bidar district to study the response of buffaloes to strategic supplementation of mineral mixture and Urea Molasses Mineral Blocks or in combination of both and also to assess the perception of farmers. Forty eight lactating buffaloes which were in first trimester of lactation were randomly divided in to 4 groups viz, T0, T1, T2 and T3. The animals in T1, T2 and T3, group were supplemented with mineral mixture, UMMB and both respectively. The animals of T0 were kept as controls without any supplementation. The results showed that the combination of mineral mixture and UMMB significantly (p≤0.01) improved the milk yield and mineral mixture or UMMB alone showed non significant increase in milk yield among them. Total solids, milk fat and organic matter of milk showed non significant increase. However, SNF of milk increased significantly in T3 and T2 groups. The conception rates among buffaloes of various groups were 92 per cent in T1, 83.33 per cent in T2 and cent per cent in T3 and only 50 per cent in control group. Three-fourth of the farmers appreciated the increase in milk yield and 70 per cent of the farmers appreciated the increase in consistency of milk. Eighty one percent of the farmers reported that the technology was economically feasible and no constraints were reported.
Livestock sector plays an important role in the economy of India in general and sustainable livelihood of poor people. With a good buffalo population of 108.70 million (Livestock census, 2012), the buffalo rearing is being considered as one of the main secondary occupation and means of livelihood mainly for small holder mixed crop livestock farmers in Bidar district. However, the productivity of buffaloes is greatly constrained by the lack of green fodder and good quality feed. Though technologies to improve productivity of dairy animals do exist, however the awareness and rate of mixed farming system worldwide is consistently low, because of the existing research and extension setup and related other constraints. (Rao et al., 2005). Buffaloes in Bidar district mainly fed on scrubs grown on community lands, grasses and crop residues which are of poor quality being deficient in energy, protein, mineral and vitamins and also have the poor digestibility due to the presence of lignin in them (Van Soest, 1994). The main aim is to improve the nutritive value of the traditional straw-based diet thus promoting healthy growth and milk productivity of buffaloes. In this context, strategic supplementation of nutrients is essential in order to improve the utilization of poor quality roughages and fulfill the deficiency of nutrients as well supplementation of critical nutrients through dietary source (Sampath et al., 1995). Keeping this in view the present study was conducted to study the response of buffaloes and to assess the perception of the farmers regarding the strategic supplementation of UMMB and mineral mixture.
Materials and Methods
For the present study six villages, three each from Humnabad and Aurad taluka of Bidar district were selected purposively as these talukas were selected as the clusters under the NAIP project. From six villages 48 buffaloes which were in first trimester of lactation were randomly selected and these were grouped in to four treatment groups of twelve animals viz, T0, T1, T2 and T3. The animals in T1, T2 and T3, group were supplemented with mineral mixture (50g/day), UMMB (ad lib) and both respectively. The animals of T0 were kept as controls without any supplementation. The buffaloes were managed by the farmers according to their farm practice. Concentrate feeding was not a common practice. The farmers were advised to feed mineral mixture to the buffaloes by mixing 25 g of mineral mixture at morning and evening hours through water. Similarly the farmers were advised to keep UMMB (about 3 kg) in front of the animals in a pan to allow for free licking. All the animals got used to licking the blocks within an adaptation period of 2-3 weeks. The selected animals were dewormed before commencement of the trial. The milk samples were analyzed for fat, total solids, solid not fat (SNF) and ash (ISI, 1961). During every visit to the village the total milk yield was measured from each selected buffaloes of various treatments. The data were collected over period of 6 months. Field visits were carried out once in two weeks to monitor the intake of UMMB, feeding of mineral mixture, milk production, milk composition and general health of the animals. Milk samples were collected at one month intervals and brought to the laboratory for further analysis. Data were collected from the farmers by personal interview with the help of semi structured interview schedule. The collected data was subjected to the statistical analysis in a completely randomized block design by two way analysis of variance technique.
Results and Discussion
Consumption of UMMB and Mineral Mixture
The daily intake of UMMB by buffaloes was ranging from 240 to 360 g and averaged 294 g when fed alone (T2). Similarly the daily intake of UMMB ranged from 190 to 320 g and averaged 256 g when fed in combination with mineral mixture (T3). However fixed quantity of mineral mixture of 50g was supplemented and no wastage was reported.
Effect on Milk Yield
The mean milk yield (lit/day) observed for treatment groups were 3.5, 4.39, 4.35 and 4.52 for T0, T1, T2 and T3 groups, respectively (Table 1).
Table 1: Effect of Strategic Supplementation on Milk Parameters
|Milk Yield (lit/day)||3.50±0.14c||4.39±0.24b||4.35±0.20b||4.52±0.16a||0.01|
|Total Solids (%)||15.15±0.26||15.24±0.27||15.57±0.24||15.63±0.23||NS|
|Solid not Fat (%)||8.98±0.11c||8.98±0.098c||9.34±0.091b||9.43±0.097a||0.01|
|Milk Fat (%)||6.16±0.17||6.25±0.19||6.23±0.18||6.27±0.17||NS|
|Organic Matter (%)||99.29±0.0068||99.33±0.011||99.34±0.0095||99.34±0.0061||NS|
T0= Control; T1= with mineral mixture; T2 = with UMMB; T3= both mineral mixture and UMMB NS- Non significant; abc means within rows without common superscripts are significantly different at (P ≤ 0.01)
The milk yield was high in the group T3 in which both mineral mixture and UMMB were fed to the buffaloes and it differed significantly with T1 and T2 where either mineral mixture or UMMB alone was fed. However, UMMB and mineral mixture showed non significant increase among themselves but significantly higher than the control group (T0). In confirmation with Misra et al. (2006) who reported that feeding of UMMB to the cross bred cows which were in mid lactation produced 30 per cent more milk (p<0.05) than the control group. Similarly Khanum et al. (2007), Sahoo et al. (2009) and Shaw et al. (2009) reported the significant increase in milk yield due to the supplementation with UMMB in buffaloes. Mathialagan et al. (2009) reported that on an average 0.8 lit per day per animal of milk yield was increased in buffaloes supplemented with mineral mixture.
Effect on Milk Total Solids
The mean total solids (per cent) observed for treatment groups were 15.15, 15.24, 15.57 and 15.63 for T0, T1, T2 and T3 groups, respectively. There was no statistical significant difference in the total solids of milk among the treatment groups and between the treatments and periods. The results are in line with the findings reported by Sahoo et al. (2009) where he reported that the milk total solids increased by 3.22 per cent.
Effect on Milk SNF
The mean SNF (per cent) observed for treatment groups were 8.98, 8.98, 9.34 and 9.43 for T0, T1, T2 and T3groups, respectively. The combination of mineral mixture and UMMB significantly (P ≤ 0.01) improves the SNF content of milk followed by UMMB alone. However, mineral mixture alone showed non-significant increase in SNF. The UMMB blocks contain urea which acts as non protein nitrogen source and rumen microbes use it in synthesis of rumen microbial protein which animal will utilize it to meet the body protein demand. Molasses enhances the rumen microbial digestion by providing instant energy to the rumen microbes. The mineral salts provide required minerals for all the metabolic activities. Similarly Sahoo et al., 2009 reported that 2.18 per cent of SNF was increased in buffaloes due to UMMB supplementation. Mathialagan et al. (2009) reported that an average of 0.35 per cent of SNF was increased in buffaloes due to mineral supplementation.
Effect on Milk Fat
The mean milk fat (per cent) observed for treatment groups were 6.16, 6.25, 6.23 and 6.27 for T0, T1, T2 and T3 groups, respectively. There was no statistical significant difference in the milk fat among the treatment groups and between the treatment groups and periods. Since there is an inverse relationship between milk yield and milk fat, this is evident from the results where milk yield increase significantly whereas milk fat showed non-significant increase. Similar findings were reported by IAEA/RCA (2004) where it has reported that an increase of 0.1 to 0.3 per cent was observed in milk SNF. However, in contrary Sahoo et al. (2009) reported an increase of 6.21 per cent in milk fat of buffaloes supplemented with UMMB similarly Misra et al. (2006) reported an increase of 8 per cent of milk fat that of control group.
Effect on Organic Matter
The mean organic matter (per cent) observed for treatment groups were 99.29, 99.33, 99.34 and 99.34 for T0, T1, T2 and T3 groups, respectively. There was no statistical significant difference in the organic matter of milk among the treatment groups. Interaction between the treatments and periods was also not significant. This finding can be attributed to the fact that only milk SNF increased significantly but the milk fat did not show significant increase.
Effect on Reproductive Performance
Majority (61.11 %) of the animals conceived between four to six months of the study period and 19.44 per cent of the animals conceived during three to four months of the study period. However, 11 per cent of the animals conceived just two months after the start of the supplementation.
Table 2: Conception Pattern in Buffaloes
(12 buffaloes/ group)
|Months in which Animal Conceived|
|No. of Buffaloes Conceived||6||11||10||12||4||7||22|
T0= Control; T1= with mineral mixture; T2 = with UMMB; T3= both mineral mixture and UMMB
Similarly Brar and Nanda (2002) reported that out of 44 anoestrous buffaloes 90 per cent came in to heat and conceived within one month, compared with only 28 per cent in the control group after supplemented with UMMB. Kang (2002) reported that 30 days of UMMB supplementation induced behavioural oestrous in 40 buffaloes, compared with only 10 per cent in control group. Extended UMMB supplementation for another 30 days induced behavioural oestrous in 85 per cent of buffaloes with 100 per cent first service conception rate. Koley and Biswas (2004) reported that the supplementation of mineral mixture at the rate of 25 g/animal/day for 60 days to 20 anoestrous heifers resulted in 70 per cent of animals shows behavioural oestrous. The results are also in confirmation with findings reported by Misra et al., 2006, Shah et al., 2009.
Perception of Farmers towards the Strategic Supplementation
Effect on Feed Consumption and Water Intake
Licking was evident in most of the buffaloes (66.68 %). The intake gradually increased over two weeks with large diurnal variations. Thereafter intake became more or less constant. Some animals did not consume blocks for the first few days and then slowly started licking. Some farmers (16.66 %) induced block licking by spreading small quantity of salt or wheat flour or sugar on top of block for the first few days. In some cases (16.66 %) animals refused to consume blocks on their own, farmers cut the block into small pieces and fed some pieces daily mixed in homemade concentrate or directly put into the mouth of the animal. Similar findings were reported on consumption pattern and induced feeding by Misra et al., 2006.
Effect on Feed Consumption and Water Intake
During the investigation all the farmers (100%) expressed that feed and water intake by buffaloes was increased. About 86 per cent of farmers reported that the feed wastage was reduced and animals were less selective when fed with stover or straw. Similarly, 66.66 per cent of farmers reported that their animals grazed actively in fields. It was quite evident from the farmer’s response that the supplementation of UMMB and mineral mixture stimulated intake of the basal diet irrespective of the type of forage. Since the UMMB contains the molasses, urea and minerals and mineral mixture contains essential mineral salts which subsequently increased the palatability and appetite. Thus increasing the overall dry matter intake and followed by water intake by the buffaloes. These results are in confirmation with the findings reported by Sharma et al., 2004, Misra et al., 2006.
Table 3: Perception of the Farmers towards Strategic Supplementation (n=60)
|Fed in pieces||16.66|
|Started licking on day 1||24.00|
|Started licking from day 2 to day 6||42.67|
|Started licking after One week||33.33|
|Mineral Mixture Feeding||Fed through water||100.00|
|Feed Consumption||More feed consumed||100.00|
|Less selective when fed stover||80.55|
|Consumed more water||100.00|
|Milk Production||Daily milk increased||94.44|
|Milk increased 0.5 litre/day||75.00|
|Milk increased 1.0 litre/day||19.44|
|No changes in daily milk production||05.56|
|Sustained milk production during summer||80.33|
|Changes in Consistency of Milk||No change in milk||27.78|
|Abnormality in milk||02.78|
|Deprived Appetite||Stopped eating abnormal things||50.00|
|Reduced eating abnormal things||19.44|
|No change observed||30.56|
|Changes in health/body condition||Improved||75.00|
|Economic Feasibility||Not economical||17.44|
|Non availability of UMMB and mineral mixture in nearby places||38.88|
|Adoption of the Technology in Future||Yes||61.11|
|Yes, only if supplemented free of cost or some financial help from outside||27.78|
Effect of Milk Yield
The results shows that 75 per cent of farmers reported that milk yield was increased by 0.5 lit/day and 19.44 per cent of the farmers reported that milk yield was increased by 1 lit/day when fed with mineral mixture or UMMB or both to the buffaloes. The urea which acts as source of non protein nitrogen and molasses which provides the instant energy for rumen microbes along with essential minerals especially calcium and phosphorus helped in increasing the milk yield. The amount of increase in milk yield, according to the farmers response and actual measurement which the researcher got during regular intervals may vary but the perception of the farmers about the mineral mixture and UMMB was quite satisfying as per as milk yield was concerned. These results are in confirmation with the findings of Sharma et al., 2004, Misra et al., 2006.
Effect on Milk Consistency
Even though there is an inverse relationship between milk yield and milk fat, 94.44 per cent of the farmers reported that the yield was increased against 69.44 per cent of farmers who reported that the thickness of the milk was increased. This was mainly due to the significant increase in milk SNF and non significant increase in milk fat. However, 27.78 per cent of the famers did not notice any change in the milk consistency because most of these buffaloes were belonged T1 group where in the milk SNF hardly increased as compared to the T2 and T3 groups. Brar and Nanda (2002), Reddy and Krishna (2002) and Sahoo et al. (2009) reported that the milk fat and SNF content has increased due to the supplementation of UMMB, similarly Mathialagan et al. (2009) reported that 0.35 per cent of SNF increased per day per animal in buffaloes due to the supplementation of mineral mixture.
Impact on Animal Health/Body Condition
The results revealed that 75 per cent of the farmers noticed the improvement in their animal health/body condition. They had the perception that due to the supplementation technology the feed and water intake increased and subsequently health was improved rapidly. According to the farmers, the animals had glossy skin, bright eyes and no signs of any malnourishment. Some of the buffaloes had stiff joint, ataxia due to prolonged mineral deficiencies but interestingly when the animals were fed with UMMB and mineral mixture the symptoms subsided. However, 25 per cent of the farmers reported that no change has occurred in their animals’ health/body condition. This could be attributed to the fact that their animals were healthy prior to the start of the supplementation or some farmers could not appreciate the changes in the health/body condition. These observations are in line with the findings of Sharma et al. (2004), Misra et al. (2006). No case of urea poisoning was reported except in one instance a farmer reported that the milk was getting spoiled after feeding of the UMMB block. But after milk analysis it was concluded that milk was of good quality.
Impact on Eating Of Abnormal Things by Buffaloes
Pica was a common problem in the buffaloes in the study areas but it was effectively reduced by supplementing mineral mixture or UMMB. Hence, 50 per cent of the farmers reported that eating abnormal things was stopped by the buffaloes and 19.44 per cent of the farmers reported that eating abnormal things was reduced. But around 30 per cent reported that there was no change. This might be because these animals might not suffered from any mineral deficiencies earlier. Similar findings were reported by Misra et al., 2006.
Constraints in Supplementation Technology
Around 53 per cent of the farmers reported that the technology doesn’t have any constraints. But around 39 per cent of farmers reported that non availability of mineral mixture and UMMB was major constraint. This may be attributed to inaccessibility to major markets and lack of transportation facility to markets. Hence, people rarely visit the markets. Similar observations were reported by Misra et al., 2006. Around 5 per cent of the farmers expressed that supplementation technology was laborious.
Economic Feasibility and Readiness for the Adoption of Strategic Supplementation by Farmers
The UMMB blocks cost around Rs. 30/block (3 kg) and mineral mixture cost around Rs. 32/kg. Considering all the favorable characteristics of these supplements, 81 per cent of the farmers reported that this technology is economically feasible and really affordable from the resource poor farmers. Around 88 per cent of the farmers were ready to adopt this supplementation technology in future, because of ideal attributes of innovation in the technology. The feeding of UMMB and mineral mixture found to be convenient to feed, these blocks were easy to store, handle and results were observable. The effect of UMMB or mineral mixture or both on milk yield, dry matter intake, reproductive performance etc was evident. Thus farmers found this supplementation technology is convenient, effective and inexpensive method of providing required nutrients for the buffaloes which may be deficient in the current diet. Similar study conducted by Misra et al. (2006) was reported adoption rate of cent percent.