Evaluation of an economical total mix ration for dairy cattle with locally available feed resources
Sampath, W.A.K., Perera, A.N.F. and Gamika A. Prathapasinghe
Date : 2009-10-15 Volume : 1

Dairy sector is considered as the most important of all livestock sub sectors. This is mainly because of the influence it can make on the rural economy. The domestic milk production only constitutes about 17 percent of the annual requirement of the country and the rest is imported. According to the Ministry of livestock development, the government policy on dairy development is aimed at producing 50% of countrys requirement of milk by the year 2015.
The productivity of Sri Lankan Dairy sector has gone down mainly due to the unavailability of economically feasible feed types in the market targeting the small holders. The animal feed prices have gone up mainly because of the imported raw materials. Currently around 85-90% of feed raw material requirements are being imported. So it is important to substitute these imported materials with high quality local materials that will cost less. In that case this type of a full mixed ration could act as a very good solution in terms of both nutritional values and cost.
Zea maize which is commonly known as Maize is grown in Sri Lanka especially in the Dry zone under Chena type cultivation systems. But it is the grain that is used by the feed millers and humans. But the crop residuals of the Maize plant after harvesting is also a very good source of nutrients for the animals. This study was done to identify the best combination of powdered Maize plant residuals and dried Gliricedia Makulata Leaves to produce a low cost animal feed for ruminants.
Five types of rations were prepared using different combinations of maize plant residuals, Gliricedia leaves, rice bran and urea. The digestibility of these rations was studies using the in vitro gas production technique. Results suggested that the ration containing 60% Gliricedia, 40% Maize, 0.25% Urea and 15% Rice bran as the best combination both nutritional and economic bases.
Currently the government is trying to increase the amount of Maize grown within the country to reduce the large amount of corn that is imported every year mainly for the production of animal feed. So if the corn production increases the raw materials needed to produce this proposed feed type will also go up.