Effect of supplementary feeding on the performance of Ankole x Friesian Crossbred calves grazed on natural pastures
Sabiiti, Elly N.
MetadataShow full item record
Aims: To determine the effect of protein supplementation to Ankole x Friesian crossbred calves grazing natural pastures on their growth performance, and the economic viability of supplementation. Study Design: Randomized Complete Block Design. Place and Duration of Study: Kiruhura district in Uganda; September to December 2012. Methodology: Nine weaned crossbred calves aged 5-6 months on each of the five experimental farms were divided into three groups. Each group was randomly assigned one of the three dietary treatments comprising: a control where calves depended solely on pastures, supplementation with homemade concentrate (HMC), or lablab hay (LH). Calves were released daily at 8.00 am to graze till 3.00 pm when those on supplementation were returned to their pens for supplementary feeding; meanwhile the control group was left grazing until evening. Body weight (BW) and body condition (BC) of each calf were recorded at three weeks’ intervals. Financial efficiency of supplementation was estimated using the ratio of total revenue (TR) to total variable cost (TVC). Results: The mean total DMI (kg/day) of calves supplemented with HMC (3.28) and LH (2.94) were higher (P < .001) than that of calves on sole grazing (1.90). The mean daily BW gain (g/day) of calves supplemented with HMC (540) was higher (P = .03) than that of calves supplemented with LH (423) and those on sole grazing (357). The BC scores of calves fed HMC and LH were 4.74 and 4.90 respectively, and were higher (P = .04) than that of calves (4.32) on sole grazing. Returns per unit variable cost of production measured by TR/TVC for calves on sole grazing were 1.30 compared to 1.11 and 0.92 for calves fed LH and HMC, respectively. Conclusion: Supplementing crossbred calves grazing natural pastures with HMC improves their growth performance, but might be uneconomical in the short run due to cost of ingredients.