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Development agents and farmers often pose questions or give replies during field visits in the various countries where techniques have been diffused concerning urea treatment of low quality forages and fabrication of multinutrient blocks.

This Chapter attempts to bring together this series of practical questions and replies. They illustrate the types of worry presented, which tend to be quite independent to the agro-climatic situation encountered.

I - Questions posed to the livestock farmers and their replies

Question 1

How do you feed your animals during the course of the year (in the agricultural zone)?

Reply 1

During the dry season: by stubble grazing and grazing of border areas during the day and giving rice straw or other crop residues during the evening (stalks from sorghum, millet and maize).

During the rainy season: because the fields are under crops, the animals are often kept at home and fed with straw.

Question 2

What are the most important problems which you encounter in raising your animals?

Reply 2

Question 3

What do you think about treated straw and the animals which are receiving it?

Reply 3

Question 4

What do you think about the treatment technique and its eventual constraints?

Reply 4


Question 5

During which period of the year do you prefer to treat and why?

Reply 5


Question 6

Which type of animals do you prefer to feed with the treated straw?

Reply 6

Question 7

How would you advise FAO concerning the setting up of similar projects in other countries?

Reply 7

II - Questions most frequently posed by farmers and extension agents

Question 1

Why should we treat the straw?

Reply 1

Question 2

How does the urea affect the straw?

Reply 2

Question 3

Why does the animal have to adapt to treated straw?

Reply 3:

Question 4

What is the difference between making silage and urea treatment?

Reply 4

Question 5

Which types of forage can be treated?

Reply 5

Question 6

When is the optimum season for treatment?

Reply 6

Question 7

How long can treated straw be conserved?

Reply 7

Question 8

What are the effects on quality of storing the treated straw over long periods?

Reply 8

Question 9

Can treated forage be transferred from the silo for storage elsewhere?

Reply 9

Question 10

Can we feed treated straw to our pigs?

Reply 10

Question 11

Can we treat freshly cut green forage?

Reply 11

Question 12

Can we feed treated straw to our cows which are in gestation or are suckling?

Reply 12

Question 13

Can we stop giving supplements to our animals which are fed the treated forage?

Reply 13

a/ Yes! They may be stopped for your animals which are under maintenance or which have only feeble production, all except the mineral supplements.

What happens in practice is,

b/ No! In order to achieve high performance levels, a supplementation in energy, crude protein and minerals is essential. However this must not erase the effects due to treatment. Such supplements should be supplied through using local byproducts such as cotton seeds, cereal bran, brewer's grain, cassava tubers, etc.… These should never make up more than half the total ration.

Pasturing, above all of green forage if this exists (along the bunds of irrigated plots) constitutes an excellent supplement for treated straw when this is only available in limited quantities.

Question 14

What are the advantages of urea treatment over simply adding an equivalent amount of urea to natural straw?

Reply 14

Question 15

Can we give multinutrient blocks in addition to treated straw?

Reply 15

Question 16

What should we do if the animals refuse to eat the treated straw?

Reply 16

Question 17

What should we do if we find effects due to an over-dosage?

Reply 17

One must note however, that this type of situation is rarely encountered in practice.

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