Dairy Farming Manual
What should you know about treated straw ?
Why should you treat straw? (5-13)
1 Treated straw has a higher feed value than untreated straw.
It is easy to make.
|Is it expensive to treat straw? (14-17)
2 Making treated straw is not expensive and you save money on concentrates.
|How can you treat straw? (18-49 )|
|How can you feed treated straw? (50-66)
4 You should know:
|Why should you treat straw?
5 After paddy harvest and threshing, you have a lot of straw.
|Should you burn it in the field?
6 No! You can use as a maintenance feed for cattle
|7 Treat straw
Treated straw has a higher feed value.
You make better use of your straw.
|Is it difficult to produce treated straw?
8 You can treat straw under all farming conditions and on all sizes of farms
|9 and under all weather conditions.|
10 On a small farm you can make a large amount of feed at one time.
A few hours work for you and your family
|11 makes enough feed for 3 animals for 1 month.|
Why not feed urea to your animals?
12 Urea can be toxic if you use it directly as a supplement for roughages.
|13 When you treat straw with urea
and feed it to your animal, it is fairly safe.
After a few days, animals like to eat treated straw.
|Is it expensive to treat straw?
|15 Treated straw:
- has a higher feed value
- makes a cheaper maintenance ration.
Your animal eats more straw.
|16 For young stock, treated straw supports weight gain and growth better than untreated straw.|
|17 For the same ration,
if you use treated straw you can use less concentrates for
maintenance and the lower levels of milk production.
If you use untreated straw you must use more concentrates.
Using treated straw saves you money.
How can you treat straw?
18 You can use a temporary site or a permanent structure for straw treatment.
If you use a temporary site follow these steps:
- lay down a plastic sheet
- spread straw on the sheet and sprinkle with urea mixture
- repeat the step in 19 a number of times
- seal the stack with a plastic sheet.
|22 If you regularly use
treated straw, make 2 chambers and:
Fill chamber A by adding a layer of straw and sprinkling with urea (see 19).
|23 Week 2:
Start filling chamber B with straw and treating in the same way as for chamber A.
|24 Week 4:
Start feeding from chamber A at the beginning of Week 4.
|25 Week 7:
When chamber A is empty, start feeding from chamber B.
| 26 While feeding from chamber B, start
filling and treating chamber A again and repeat the process.
Try to leave your straw for 3 weeks in either chamber before feeding. Therefore, each chamber should hold 3 weeks feed.
|How big should your stack be?
27 Make enough treated straw for 3-4 weeks of feeding.
You need more treated straw if you have
How can you calculate
the amounts of straw and labour?
|29 Cover with airtight plastic
Buy rolls of plastic and cut in lengths longer
and wider than the stack.
How many metres of plastic
sheet do you need?
Straw treatment in detail
31 Choose a site with even ground.
This could be the threshing place or a place close to the cow shed.
|32 Overlap the sheets on the ground.
This makes a seal against the floor surface.
|33 Seal the overlapping
Simply walk along the places where the
34 Lift the edges of the plastic sheet and place loose straw underneath.
This keeps the water/urea mixture in the stack.
35 Spread a layer of straw over the plastic bottom 10-20 cm high.
50 kg of straw is easy to handle at one time.
Use large baskets to measure and transport the straw.
36 Sprinkle 40 kg of water over the layer of straw.
Mix the other 10 kg of water with 3 kg of urea and stir well.
Sprinkle this mixture over the same layer of straw.
|37 How much water and urea
do you need for treating different amounts of straw?
|Step 3 and Step 4 repeated
38 Add a new layer of 50 kg of straw (Step 3).
Treat in the same way with water and urea
|39 Repeat these steps until you have enough straw to feed your milking animals for 3-4 weeks.|
|40 As you add more layers, gradually narrow the stack.|
41 Carefully seal the stack with a plastic top sheet and a plastic ground sheet.
|42 Cover the top and the sides
with plastic sheets.
Fold these sheets at the bottom and push them under the ground sheet.
|Here are the main steps again:
43 Stack begun
First layer of straw
Plastic ground sheet (rolled)
Straw packed to form wall
Plastic ground sheet (flat)
|44 Stack completed
Edge of ground sheet showing.
|45 Stack sealed
Top sheet folded and pushed under ground sheet.
|And some more important points:
46 Seals must be airtight.
Keep the ammonia in the stack.
If the plastic jacket is damaged, for example by your chickens, ammonia will escape.
|47 How much straw should you treat at
If you keep treated straw for a long time in a big stack, it loses feed value, a medium-sized stack is better.
How can you use treated straw for feeding?
|48 Three weeks after treatment remove straw from the small end of the stack.|
|49 Lift the protective layers
of gunny bags and straw and the plastic jacket.
Remove the daily ration of straw.
|50 Remove the straw for the morning and
evening feeding the night before and leave it overnight in the open
air until feeding time.
This takes away the strong smell of ammonia.
|51 Carefully close the stack.|
|52 Treated straw for feeding should have a mild smell of ammonia.|
|53 If you still have some grass to feed.|
|54 ... you can give 3 kg of treated straw for each morning and evening feeding (= 6 kg/cow/day).|
|55 In the dry season, the amount of grass in the ration decreases|
|56 .... you must give more treated straw:
8, 10 or even 12 kg per cow per day.
|57 Supplement your rations of grass and treated
straw with concentrates.
Your extension worker can advise you on quantities.
|58 Do not feed more concentrates than
Your cow cannot digest the straw properly.
59 Keep concentrates to 25% or less of the total ration.
|60 For example, the ration of maintenance
+ 8 kg milk yield should include about:
- 22% concentrates (about 4 kg/day)
- 48% treated straw (about 9 kg/day)
- 30% grass (about 6 kg/day)
|61 If your rations contain a
lot of rice straw, you must supplement with minerals:
Ask your extension worker for mineral blocks.