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Technical recommendations from the workshop

Technical recommendations formulated during a final discussion period in which rapporteurs first presented major points from discrete sessions of the workshop, fell into two categories:

i) Standardization of Methodology

- Indiscriminate performance of large numbers of chemical analyses on feeds should be discouraged as being potentially wasteful. Since nitrogen is probably the most widely deficient nutrient, its concentration will be the most frequently performed analysis.

- Determination of apparent digestibility of N is meaningless, unless accompanied by fractionation of faecal N using detergent procedures, so that the proportion of truly indigestible feed N can be identified.

- N balance remains a useful determination if carried out with due care, but cognizance should be taken of the physiological state of the experimental animals used. Lactating or young growing animals are the most sensitive to nutritional stress, and attempts should be made to use such animals as far as possible in experiments designed to evaluate feeds in terms of production response criteria.

- Digestibilities of dry and organic matter remain useful measurements that should continue to be made, and emphasis was also placed on the value and applicability of the intraruminal nylon bag method for determining degradation of feeds. Further development of a standardized approach to all aspects of this technique is to be undertaken at ILCA.

ii) Research Priorities

Several areas were identified in which a need was felt for further applied research results. These included:

- The influence of suckling management (restricted suckling) on calf growth and survival, and reproductive and lactational performance of the cow.

- Urea supplementation vs urea treatment of crop residues on their utilization.

- Use of forage and browse legumes to improve crop production and residue utilization.

- Supplementation using molasses/urea based blocks of varying formulation depending on the local availability of appropriate ingredients.

- Survey data obtained during collaboration between crop and animal scientists in relation to regional availabilities of quantities of crop residues, variation in grain: stover ratios, and studies directed towards economic aspects of residue transport and alternative uses.

- Use of by products in non-ruminant rations.

Other matters raised included the identification of constraints to by-product utilization in smallholder communities, the responses of these communities to the introduction of interventions, and problems of technology transfer. All of the above items will be considered in developing the programme for the 1987 workshop; problems associated with smallholder production systems remain the recognised priority for ARNAB activities.

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