Review of energy nutrition in ruminants
E.R. Ørskov & M. Ryle. 1990. Barking, UK, Elsevier Applied Science Publishers.
This book is intended for use by all interested nutritionists, from undergraduates upwards, and was written as a companion volume to Protein nutrition in ruminants (Ørskov, 1982, Academic Press). The book consists of ten chapters covering the nutrition of the pre-ruminant animal and development of the microflora; rumen microbiology and fermentation; absorption and use of volatile fatty acids; energy requirements for different functions; control of intake and feed evaluation in the past, present and future.
The overall impression is that the book meets the needs of the intended market, although the chapters on feed evaluation do not have quite the same depth of content as the other chapters. Notwithstanding this point, the book should prove a useful text for anyone requiring first or easy reference to general concepts, while the research worker will find it of value before moving on to more specific publications.
Access to such publications is facilitated by the useful lists of references provided throughout the book. While showing some emphasis on the authors' own publications, the references provide an acceptably wide spectrum of other authors' work for comparison. The time span of references cited also reflects development in this field without being outdated or overemphasizing the most recent publications.
The book's content certainly should prove useful to its target audience. Furthermore, it is well written in a style that all, including those with a less than perfect knowledge of English, should be able to follow.
Non-conventional foodstuffs in the nutrition of farm-animals
K. Boda (ed.) 1990. Amsterdam, Elsevier. 260 pp. Price: US$ 102.50.
In the past, forecasts of the world's population by the year 2000 have varied from 4.5 billion to six billion but, if present trends continue, 5.3 billion could be a likely estimate. Protein requirements of the world's population at present amount to 240 000 tonnes per day and this figure is expected to reach 540 000 tonnes by the year 2100.
This publication, written by Czechoslovak experts on non-conventional animal foodstuffs, indicates the importance of utilizing all possible resources to meet future demands for the production of animal protein.
By-products of plant and animal origin as well as petrochemical raw materials may be processed into protein and carbohydrate feedstuffs for cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry. In this publication, non-conventional feedstuffs have been divided into the following groups: petrochemicals; lignocellulose materials and by-products of their processing; keratin refuse; tannery refuse; excrement of farm animals and digestive system contents; non-protein nitrogen; municipal and domestic refuse; and invertebrates. They therefore include resources such as algae, sawdust or feathers.
Close attention, however, should be paid not only to the protein level of non-conventional feeds but the balance of individual essential amino acids within these feeds. Non-conventional feeds should not be used exclusively or indiscriminately and nutritional monitoring of these feedstuffs should be constant.
The publication is available from Elsevier, PO Box 330, 1 000 AH Amsterdam, the Netherlands, or, in the United States and Canada, from Elsevier, PO Box 882, Madison Square Station, New York, NY 10159, USA.
Feeding dairy cows in the tropics
A.W. Speedy & R. Sansoucy. 1991.
Animal Production and Health Paper, No. 86. Rome, FAO. 244 pp.
An FAO Expert Consultation on Feeding Dairy Cows in the Tropics was held at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand, from 3 to 7 July 1989. The proceedings of this consultation have now been published in this Animal Production and Health Paper series.
The problems of improving milk production in the developing countries are complex because of socio-economical and technical constraints. Of the technical constraints, the nutrition aspect is probably the predominmant factor limiting milk production. Attention has already been drawn to the increasing difficulty of meeting the bulk of feed requirements for cattle through grazing, crop by-products and, to a lesser extent, fodder crops.
This publication provides information on diversified feeding systems for dairy cows in various ecosystems and countries; recent advances in ruminant nutrition physiology; the nutritive value and techniques of utilization of feed resources, including unconventional ones such as crop residues and agro-industrial by-products. Technical aspects, such as the environment and the reproductive physiology of the milking/gestating cow in the tropics, were also covered at the consultation, as was the feeding of buffaloes for milk production the latter item being an important one in Asia, and especially in India.
The importance of sustainable development in milk production in the tropics was emphasized and practical ways to match the milk production systems with available or potential feed resources in developing countries were examined in depth.
EAAP Publication No. 46.1991. Wageningen, Pudoc. 308 pp.
Far more than any other species of livestock, the world's goat population has increased significantly in recent years. Some of the reasons for its great leap in number, soon to reach the 500 million mark, are the socio-cultural changes in attitude toward the species; increased recognition of the dietetic quality of its milk; recent research carried out on goat husbandry and nutrition; and the goat's own important characteristics of adaptability and hardiness as well as its role as a source of protein in arid and difficult terrains.
Because of the limited available scientific information on the goat, a group of experts under the programme of FAO's Cooperative Research Sub-Network on Goat Production has for eight years carried out extensive research on goat production and nutrition. This publication presents some of the basic universal topics of goat nutrition produced by their research.
It is based on two farming systems, the intensive system, including fodder production, as well as the extensive rangeland systems of the Mediterranean and semi-arid zones.
The book is divided into three main sections: General goat nutrition; Evaluation and utilization of feeds; Feeding of adult goats; and, Feeding of young goats. The 24 chapters, on subjects varying from trough-feeding behaviour to aetiological aspects of nutritional and metabolic disorders, are written by well-known international experts. It is intended for a wide readership including researchers, teachers and students on the academic side to extension workers, veterinarians and the livestock farmers themselves.
The publication has been prepared under the auspices of LAO, the European Association for Animal Production (EAAP), the International Centre for Studies in Mediterranean Agriculture (CIHEAM) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation of the European Community (CTA).
The veterinary book for sheep farmers
David C. Henderson. 1990. Ipswich, Farming Press. 700 pp. Price: £19.95, plus £2.50 for postage and packing.
"It is our duty to ensure the welfare of the flocks in our charge by maintaining the very highest standards of husbandry and health care through skilled and diligent shepherding." The philosophy of the author is soon revealed by the opening statement of the preface to his book. Duty to ensure the welfare of all animals, whether they be sheep, large ruminants or poultry, is clearly what this shepherd-turned-veterinarian would advocate for all livestock keepers.
Because the crux of successful sheep breeding depends on optimum reproduction, this manual for sheep farmers and shepherds pays special attention to the reproduction cycle on a calendar basis, starting from weaning, preparation for mating, pregnancy, lambing, lactation and back to weaning. Chapters on diseases of newborn lambs, pneumonia and other respiratory diseases, trace elements, parasites, skin conditions, foot lameness are all written clearly, primarily for farmers, without the hindrance of unnecessary scientific terminology.
The publication contains some excellent colour plates which are helpful in diagnosis, and the index and eight appendixes provide useful, quick reference material.
The author has compiled this veterinary manual particularly with the British sheep farmer in mind but its qualities, derived from personal practical experience both with the flocks themselves and in subsequent clinical research, will be appreciated by all breeders and shepherds of this "appealing species".
The publisher's address is 4 Friars Courtyard, 30-32 Princes Street, Ipswich IP1 1RJ, UK.
Outdoor pigs - principles and practice
B.A. Stark, D.H. Machin & J.M. Wilkinson (eds). 1990. Marlow, UK, Chalcombe Publications. 150 pp. Price: £12.95.
The reasons for the resurgence of outdoor pig production in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere include the lower capital investment required for this type of production: reduced input on buildings and equipment; improved perceived welfare benefits; and a higher net margin per sow. Economic disadvantages, however, can include slightly higher costs for feed, labour and transport.
Outdoor pig production in the United Kingdom, may also present the problem of summer abortions, while in the Mediterranean countries of Europe summer infertility may be manifested by delayed puberty, anoestrus after weaning and a reduced harrowing rate. Studies on the wild pig in France have shown that reproductive activities cease in July, recommencing between the months of October and December. A similar tendency of seasonal breeding in outdoor pigs contrasts to the year-round reproduction expected from the indoor pig. The natural environmental conditions found in outdoor production, including photoperiodic, thermoregulatory, nutritional and behavioural factors have a direct influence on the neuroendocrine system and reproduction, and are encountered in all parts of the world. The importance of seasonal temperature alterations is emphasized in this publication:
Australian studies have found that high temperatures before or within 15 days of mating, for example, are a major cause of seasonal infertility.
One chapter deals fully with these problems and recommends that investigations into pig endocrinology, physiology and husbandry be undertaken.
The book's chapters on nutrition and feed explain the higher feed requirements of outdoor sows as a consequence of higher energy requirements and it is interesting to note that a list of raw materials published in the United Kingdom in 1925 is effectively similar to that of today's ingredients. Benefits of alternative feeds, such as maize and grass silages, grazed grass, root vegetables and fodder beet, are lower costs per unit of nutrient and per hectare; the potential of low-nutrient dense feeds; increased fat content in milk; increased litter size and weight; reduced water consumption; and improved health. It must be remembered, however, that in the humid tropical climates, high energy requirements are less necessary.
Of interest too are the differences in behaviour in outdoor and indoor pigs. These differences are important when considering the finishing system. Outdoor pigs on the whole are more precocious than their indoor siblings. They are more active (sometimes destructively so) and adaptable; are heavier at weaning; grow more quickly after weaning; and require only simple housing.
In the developing world where scavenging and backyard systems as well as medium-sized units and large-scale production exist, the study of recent developments and experiences in outdoor pig production may be useful and the principles and practices may be considered with interest and adapted to local conditions, at least on an experimental basis. Managed outdoor pig rearing could, therefore, provide an alternative to the current type of intensive production in some of the developing countries.
Because so little published information on this subject is available, this book, the proceedings of a conference held at the University of Oxford in April 1989, is of particular interest since it contains the specialized knowledge of ten experts and helps the producer to assess the pros and cons of outdoor pig production according to his own needs and environment.