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4.1 Physical characteristics

Vegetation waters have the appearance of a brown watery residue liquid. The liquid has a pleasant odour but a bitter taste. This effluent, which has relatively high organic matter content, constitutes a source of pollution which creates a serious problem for the olive industry.

4.2 Chemical composition

Vegetation waters have the following composition:

Table 24: Olive vegetation water chemical composition
water83.5% (1)83.0% (2)88% (3)
organic matter14.7%15%10.5%
crude protein2–8%2.4%1.25%
ether extract0.03–0.8%1.0%0.1%

Source: (1) Codounis, 1973;
(2) Cucurachi, 1973;
(3) Fiestas Ros de Ursions, 1981.

Their relatively high polyphenol content is a drawback for animal feeding (antitrypsic action).

Chemical composition varies according to many factors, particularly the oil extraction method.

4.3 Possible use in animal feeding

The documentation on this subject is too scarce. However, Martilotti (1983) has described a method which could prove useful in certain conditions and which has now been developed in Italy (Dalmolive method, Figure 7).

The method combines approximately:

which can produce 29 kg of feed in pellets whose chemical composition is as follows:

Figure 7: Dalmolive method

Figure 7
Table 25: Chemical composition of vegetation water paste obtained by the Dalmolive method
 Italy (1)Greece (2)
Dry matter :85.3%93.6%
Crude protein :21.6%21.8%
Ether extract :4.0%3.3%
Crude fibre :13.1%4.7%
Ash :8.9%9.5%
Nitrogen-free extract :52.5%60.7%
Digestible crude proteins :17.2%-

Source: (1) Agricultural chemistry laboratory of Milan
(2) From Zoiopoulos et al (1983)

Bufano et al (1982) conducted a feeding trial using 18 month old ewes receiving hay and a mixture containing 0–20–40 or 60 percent vegetation water paste (moisture content varying from 35 to 57 percent), straw or crushed olive branches, and a 20 percent protein supplement. The results obtained were very unsatisfactory (Table 26). Average daily liveweight gains were low for all the lots during the entire experimental period and did not seem to vary with different rations. However they showed that vegetation water paste was accepted willingly and that rations containing up to 34 percent of the total (60 percent of the mixture) with low nutritive value fodders such as straw or olive branches, hay, and a protein supplement (about 11 percent of the total ration) would at least ensure maintenance of the sheep and even a slight liveweight increase.

Several tests have been undertaken for production of single cell protein from vegetation waters (cited by Zoiopoulos, 1983a). However this method does not seem to be feasible in present production and economic conditions.

Lastly, the direct use of vegetation waters as drinking water for livestock was tested at the Food Oils and Fats Experimental Station in Milan. These waters were suggested to replace drinking water for hens and turkeys (Fedeli and Camurati, 1981). In the case of turkeys it was estimated that the cost of a kilo of meat produced was lower if vegetation waters were used, and a marked decrease of mortality rates was also observed. However the authors do not provide statistical data.

4.4 Conclusions

Studies on the nutritive value of vegetation waters and possibilities for their use in animal rations are too few to be able to draw accurate conclusions at present. It would certainly be worth undertaking new experiments on vegetation water paste obtained from the Dalmolive method. The use of vegetation water in other ways, for example as drinking water for turkeys, and probably ducks, could also be the subject of new investigation, but would have only a small impact on the quantity of vegetation waters used.

Table 26: Feeding of 18-month old ewes with a mixture containing 0 to 60 percent vegetation water paste straw or olive branches, 20 percent protein complement, and an additional supply of hay (From Bufano et al, 1982)
 Mixture with strawMixture with olive branches
Vegetation water paste in the mixture %02040600204060
Initial weight, kg29.232.432.530.931.331.632.933.1
Final weight, kg32.433.335.534.932.334.635.336.3
Duration, days9090909090909090
Average daily gain g/d*35.810.434.545.511.033.326.634.7
- mixture g/d7929921099922896951948908
- hay g/d641602687700610664629676

* The average daily gains obtained show very high variation coefficients within thedifferent lots.

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