21.1 What local supplements are available to feed dairy cows, and how to use them?

Good management of improved pasture is the basis of better dairy cow feeding. However, pasture quality and availability varies markedly throughout the season and therefore can hardly meet dairy cow needs at certain times of the year. Dairy cows, if compared to beef cattle, show much higher feed requirements ( both in quantity and quality). when grass is in short supply or is of poor quality ( low energy and protein contents ), body condition is quickly lost, especially among fresh calvers, resulting in a negative long term effect on cow performance:

dramatic decrease in milk production, cows show short lactation and have problems in getting pregnant. Adequate dairy management requires that the farmer should supplement his lactating cows, as this will contribute to an efficient use of grass and so to produce more milk.

A sustainable dairy production system can in many cases be aligned through a better utilisation of locally available feed resources to complement grazing of improved open or shade pastures Leg. under coconut plantations]. There is a wide range of by-products and residues from food crops and food processing which are potentially valuable feed supplements. Their nutritional value and inclusion rate in dairy cow diets are presented in table 13, Some of the most common among this category of foodstuffs are:

1. Copra meal

Copra meal is presently a most abundant potential livestock feed supplement; It is produced

all year around. Copra meal must be stocked in a ventilated place, preventing bad effects from

humidity and avoiding rancidity. It is a good feed resource, particularly rich in protein and in energy feed supplement; it can be included in diets for all categories of livestock diets and it is

specially suited for dairy cattle feeding.

For milking dairy cows, it can be used at fairly high levels: 2-3 kg daily per head. Copra meal is also a good feed supplement for calves and weaners, daily rations of 0,5 to 1,5 kg per head improves significantly live weight gains. However at first animals sometimes are somewhat reluctant to eat this supplement, so copra meal should be introduced progressively into their daily diet to accustom them. As copra meal swells considerably in water, it can be moistened before it is fed in large amounts. It can be fed as sole supplement or mixed with other(s) dietary ingredient(s), such as brewer's spent grain, chopped cassava, banana wastes, cocoa pods, fruit wastes.

2. Spent grains

Brewer's grain or fresh extracted malt is produced as a by-product of brewing beer. Brewer's spent grain is very valuable as a potential supplementary feed for livestock. It is a safe feed when it is used fresh or properly stored. This is a bulky feed but is a relatively good source of energy and protein. Spent grain is a balanced feed for dairy cows and stimulates milk production. Spent grain can be given in large amounts to dairy cows, up to 15 kg per head daily. A supplement of 8 - 10 kg of wet spent grain is usually adequate to cover the frequent nitrogen deficiency of cows grazing grass only pastures, and can sustain production levels of 4 to 6 litres of milk. Calves can be fed 2 - 4 kg daily. . Wet spent grain spoils rather quickly and should be used fresh or stored in sealed compartments out of contact with air. For longer storage, it may be ensiled in an airtight trench silo, or in tightly tied plastic bag silage. Wet spent grain can be ensiled alone or in association with other feeding ingredients, for example, with 2 -3 % molasses ( to ensure proper fermentation ), chopped banana by-products ( pseudostems, fruit, skin); chopped root vegetables or leaves.

3. Banana by-products:

a: Reject bananas

Reject bananas: both green, mininature and ripe, are a good source of energy supplement to grazing or penned animals. Dairy cows relish them and can be given in fairly large amounts. But they have a low content of fibre, protein and minerals and should therefore be fed together with grass or source of other roughage (in order to avoid rumen disturbance) as well as with a protein and mineral supplements. Multinutrient feed blocks are an excellent supplement to balance diets that include rejected bananas, because starch and simple sugars in bananas are efficiently used by rumen microbes on account of their access to urea contained in feed blocks. when the reject bananas are widely available, a good silage can be made from chopped bananas mixed with one or several rich-protein feeds, such as poultry litter, spent grain, fish wastes and cassava leaves.

Banana leaves and pseudostems (trunks):

Bananas pseudostems (trunks ) show a great potential in PlC's as a supplementary feed for dairy cows mainly during dry season and will prevent overgrazing of pastures. They can be chopped and fed fresh or ensiled. As pseudostems are low in protein and mineral contents, they are efficiently used when supplemented with rich-protein ingredients, such as copra meal, multinutrient feed blocks, cassava leaves, poultry manure and spent grain.

The use of chopped and ensiled pseudostems is particularly recommended when the bunch has been harvested and plants are cut down; the large quantity of trunks available at harvest time and can be safely preserved through a well planned silage operation. The silage is of good quality when chopped pseudostems are properly mixed with an easily fermentable carbohydrate ( such as molasses, sliced root vegetables ) and protein-rich feeds ( such as poultry hiler, wet spent grain).

4: Cocoa Pod Husk

Cocoa pods and are suitable feed supplement for dairy cattle. As the pods rot very quickly they must be given fresh to animals; large quantities (up to 8 kg/head/day) can be fed to lactating cattle. Fresh pods are, however, rich in potassium and has a low crude protein content and they must be supplemented with salt and copra meal or other protein feeds. The production of cocoa is seasonal (dry season ), so for efficient use and in order to avoid their decomposition, fresh pods must be sun-dried and then chopped, ground and fed to animals or sliced and ensiled in association with aforementioned ingredients.

5. Breadfruit

Fresh, over-ripe and damaged fruits and peelings can be a good energy supplement to be fed to grazing dairy cows and calves. However, the protein content is low and must be supplemented with aforementioned feed resources. The production of breadfruit is seasonal ( dry season ), thereby for efficient use for off-season feeding, the fruits can be chopped then sun-dried. Sliced breadfruit can be also easily ensiled mixed with other feeds (such as molasses, sliced root vegetables, rejected bananas, poultry litter, wet spent grain

6. Root crops

a: Cassava by-products:

Both the roots and the leaves are valuable feed resources for livestock. Cassava roots are a good energy source for dairy cattle but have low protein content. Fresh and sun-dried cassava roots are consumed by ruminants in different forms ( sliced, chopped or finely ground ) and used as a substitute for cereal grains in many countries. Cassava roots can be given in fairly large quantities up to 25% of total dry matter intake, but protein and mineral supplements must be fed in order to balance the ration.

Copra meal and multinutritional feed blocks are excellent supplements and have a synergistic effect on cassava roots utilisation. Furthermore, Cassava roots, which contain a very low fibre content, is a good feed for calves which perform very well on it. As cassava roots are rich in easy fermentable carbohydrates, they constitute a excellent energetic additive when they are chopped and ensiled with other feed resources, such as fish waste, cassava leaves, bananas pseudostems, spent grain, poultry litter, etc.

The cassava aerial parts or leaves (1 to 4 tonnes dry matter / ha ) are also a potential and valuable protein feed resource for dairy cows in Western Samoa.. They have been successfully fed to cattle in many countries. Dairy cows can easily eat 5 kg chopped leaves per day.

Ensiling is the simplest method to reduce significantly toxic substances (cyanogenic glucosides) concentrations to safe levels. This conservation process also renders cassava leaves more appetising. The silage is fairly balanced for dairy cows when the freshly harvested leaves are chopped and mixed with rich-energy feeds, such as molasses, rejected bananas, root vegetables, wet spent grain.

b: Taro

Taro by-products include roots, trimmings, leaves and vines which are all potentially valuable

feed supplements. Taro roots are out-standing as a feed particularly rich in energy. Raw taro contains sub stalks which irritate the tongue and palate of animals, so that it must be cooked

to improve their nutritional usefulness, mainly for monogastrics. The leaves are rich in protein

content and relished by cattle. Taro by-products can be chopped and ensiled in association with aforementioned feed resources. Silage method reduces considerably undesirable substances in taro by-products which thus become more appetising.

7. Wet pulps from fruit and vegetables (citrus and pineapple pulps and leaves.

Fruit wastes and leaves are some other potential feed resources. The most suitable method for conserving these materials is to ensile them mixed with the aforementioned ingredients, so that they ensure a good fermentation and enhance the silage quality due to their high sugar content.

The most widespread fruit wastes are pineapple pulps and leaves. The leaves are a good feed for cattle and can be used fresh, sun-dried or ensued. In all case, they must be chopped before use. Dairy cows can be fed daily 15-20 kg of fresh or ensiled plants.

8. By-products from animal and marine origins:

Feed of animal and marine origin are a good source of protein and minerals. They are very important supplements for all type and categories of livestock.

a: Fish by-products:

Fish by-products are an excellent source of protein and minerals for livestock, mainly for cows that have recently calved and for high producing cows. These cows can receive up to 0.5 kg daily of fish meal. This supplement can be produced on a small scale under village conditions using the following procedure: fish or fish waste is chopped, boiled for a short time and squeezed in cloth to eliminate water and oil. The residue is then dried in the sun. It can be finely ground and fed to animals mixed with other feed supplements. An other alternative to preserve fish wastes as protein-rich supplement is fish silage using molasses.

Seashells and coral:

where there is no mineral source locally produced all seashells and coral are potentially precious mineral supplement for livestock, mainly to meet calcium needs. Oyster shell, sea shell, coral and coral sand. They should be finely ground for cattle feeding but only to a coarse grit for laying hens.

Poultry litter:

Poultry litter can be successfully included in the diet of ruminants as a protein supplement. It is also rich in minerals. Optimum supplement levels for dairy cows is 1 to 2 kg daily. The ensiling of the poultry litter is a simple and appropriate method of conservation which effectively destroys harmful micro-organisms possibly present in poultry litter. A silage made from poultry litter, chopped root crops and bananas by-products provides a balanced diet for dairy cows.