Urea-Treated Rice Straw
This technology was developed to use rice straw, an abundant crop residue, as an improved feed for cattle and carabao. A solution of 4% urea dissolved in water is sprayed at the rate of 10 L/10 kg rice straw and kept in airtight conditions to prevent the escape of ammonia. Urea treatment increases the crude protein (CP) content of rice straw from 3.5% to 8.0% and improves the digestibility of dry matter from 40% to 50%. Dried poultry manure or kakawate (Gliricidia sepium) can be included in the treatment to further increase the protein content. The treated straw can be fed to animals after a 7-10 day treatment period. Animals fed with urea-treated rice straw should be supplemented with at least 1-2 kg green forage as source of vitamins and 0.5 kg concentrates for added energy source. It is more economical to improve the feeding value of rice straw by urea treatment than by increasing concentrate supplementation. This technology enables rice-based farmers with limited pasture to raise several heads of cattle and carabao. Farmers also save time in cutting and hauling roughage daily, as urea-treated rice straw is readily available near the cowshed.
Feeds and feeding
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