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Dairy Farming Manual

Volume 3

Husbandry Unit 4

page 1

Extension Materials
What should you know about feeding dairy cattle and buffalo?
What is important in feeding dairy cattle and buffalo? (5-16)

1 Feeding the right amounts of:
- proteins
- carbohydrates and fats
- minerals and vitamins.

How do dairy cattle and buffalo digest feeds? (17-28)

2 By having a special stomach with 4 parts.

What type of feeds are there and what is their value? (29-51)

3 There are:
- roughages
- concentrates
- mineral and vitamin supplements.

How much feed do dairy cattle and buffalo need? (52-91)

4 This depends on:
- their body weight
- what they produce.


page 3


Husbandry Unit 4: 

Technical Notes 

Note: Numbers in brackets refer to illustrations in the Extension Materials.

Introduction  (5-8)

There are large cattle and buffalo populations in the Asian region.  In most countries the indigenous stock is mainly used for draught and meat.  However, in India and Pakistan some indigenous breeds have been selectively bred for improved milk production.

In most of the countries in the region, programmes have been undertaken for the crossbreeding and upgrading of the indigenous cattle with temperate breeds to obtain higher milk production.  Some countries have resorted to large scale importation of pure-bred temperate cattle for the same purpose.

It is observed, however, that adequate attention is not being given to proper feeding of dairy animals.  Thus they are not producing what they could (i.e. the full genetic potential for milk production is not  expressed).  This is shown by the higher levels of production in well managed herds than in poorly managed herds with the same type of animals.

Adequate attention, therefore, should be given to the proper feeding of dairy animals to obtain best results.

page 4

What is important in feeding dairy cattle and buffalo?
5 For high milk production good feeding must go together with good breeding.
6 Even a good temperate breed e.g. Friesian gives low milk production with poor feeding
7 whereas crossbreeds or selected local breeds can give good milk production with good feeding.
8 Good feeding gives you more milk which you can sell for more money.


page 5

 Nutrients from feeds  (9-16)

Dairy cattle and buffalo, like humans and all other animals, need food to obtain the various nutrient requirements for their proper functioning.  (The roles played by the combined action of the various nutrients are too complex to be discussed in detail.  Only important practical aspects are considered here to make the farmers aware of their importance.)  The nutrient requirements can be thought of in a simplified manner as follows.

- Bones, which give the body its structure, provide attachment points for the muscles and make it possible for easy move-ment from place to place, are made of minerals.  (Minerals are also required in certain varying amounts for proper functioning of the body.)

- Muscles, which make it possible for one organ to move rela-tive to others and for the animal to move from one place to another, are made mainly of proteins.  (Proteins can also be used as a source of energy, but the main requirement is for body building and repair functions.)

- Energy, which is necessary for the various body functions (energy for running an engine is obtained from the fuel that it burns) comes mainly from:

 - Carbohydrates

 - Fats.  (These are stores of energy and also form part of the connective tissue which bind organs together.)

- Activation of various metabolic activities in the body require the presence of vitamins.  These are required in minute quantities and may be compared to the lubricating oils in an engine.

Whereas animals require these nutrients in a ready made form which can be digested and utilized by them, plants can manufacture these nutrients from air, water and soil nutrients with energy from the sun.

page 6

9 Your animals need nutrients from feeds to be strong and healthy.
10 If some nutrients are missing your animals:
- become weak and get disease
- produce less
- may not become pregnant.
11 Your animals need minerals for strong bones and joints
12 and proteins to build strong muscles.


page 7

13 They need carbohydrates and fat for energy
14 and vitamins so their bodies can work properly.
15 Plants can make these nutrients from the air, soil, water and with energy from the sun.
16 Animals cannot make nutrients, unless you feed the right amounts of the correct feeds.

page 8

 The Ruminants  (17-28)

Cattle and buffalo belong to the group of animals referred to as ruminants.  These animals have a "complex" stomach comprising four different compartments, which enable them to utilize various roughages efficiently and to obtain nutrients from them.

The four compartments are rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum.  The abomasum is the true stomach and is comparable to the "simple" stomach of the non-ruminants.  The other three are the "fore" stomachs.

At birth the calf resembles a non-ruminant because the "fore" stomachs are not developed.  Thus the calf requires milk or milk replacers and calf starters in its early days of life.  During this early period, milk gets directed into the abomasum, without passing through the "fore" stomachs, by a special mechanism.

As the calf grows it starts to nibble grass (or hay offered to it) and the "fore" stomachs become functional rapidly.  Thereafter, the food taken by the animal first enters the rumen.  Here the digestive process starts (before reaching the abomasum).

The capacity of the "fore" stomachs is about 13-14 times that of the abomasum.  In adult cattle/buffalo, the rumen alone may have a capacity of up to 150 litres.  Thus they can consume very large quantities of roughages.

Within the rumen are billions of micro-organisms, both bacteria and protozoa.  These micro-organisms initiate the process of digestion by:

- converting the carbohydrates (e.g. sugars, starches, cellu-lose etc) to volatile fatty acids (VFA);

- breaking down the proteins into amino acids and even further into ammonia, carbon dioxide and VFA; and

- forming new amino acids (including the "essential" amino acids) and more proteins by multiplying themselves.  (The bodies of the micro-organisms contain proteins; more pro-teins are formed when they multiply; the proteins are made of amino acids - both essential and non-essential.)

The micro-organisms also produce (synthesize) vitamins of the "B" group, which are absorbed and utilized by rumi-nants.)

page 9

How do dairy cattle and buffalo digest feeds?
17 Cattle and buffalo are called "ruminants"
18 because their stomach has 4 parts.

With this complex stomach, they can get nutrients from roughages.

19 The abomasum is the "real" stomach and is similar to your stomach.
20 The other 3 stomachs
- rumen
- reticulum
- omasum
are the "fore" stomachs.


page 10

The most important features of the ruminant digestive process are:

- the ease with which roughages are converted into VFA, which are then absorbed and utilized by the animals as a source of energy (and production of fat); and

- the formation of essential amino acids (or proteins contain-ing them, which are broken down into the respective amino acids in the abomasum) from non-protein nitrogen sources e.g. urea and proteins which do not contain any essential amino acids.  The amino acids are subsequently absorbed and utilized to form proteins or as a source of energy.

Therefore, to make dairying economical, feed buffalo and cattle appropriate quantities of:

 - roughages
 - protein supplements (with poor quality proteins) and
 - non-protein nitrogen sources.

page 11

21 At birth, your calf has a stomach like yours.
The "fore" stomachs are not developed.
22 So your calf needs milk and milk replacers.
They go straight to the abomasum without entering the "fore" stomachs.
23 As your calf grows, it feeds on grass and hay.
The food enters the "fore" stomachs before passing to the abomasum.
24 The "fore" stomachs can hold 13-14 times as much as the abomasum.


page 12

 25 The "fore" stomachs of your adult animals can hold up to 150 l.
They can consume large amounts of roughages.
26 The rumen contains a great number of micro-organisms which help to change roughages into useful nutrients.
27 To save money but still have good milk production, feed the right amounts of
- roughages
- protein supplements (with poor quality proteins)
- feeds with non-protein nitrogen.


page 13

 Types of feed (for ruminant feeding)  (29-40)

A simple way of classifying feeds is to group them as roughages, concentrates and mineral supplements.

- Roughages are feeds with a high fibre content.  These include grasses, fodders and legumes - either in the fresh state or in preserved forms such as hay or silage; leaves of trees (tree fodders) and crop residues (see H.1), which can be fed as they are or after treatment to improve the nutritive value e.g. urea treated straw (see H. 5.4).

- Concentrates are characterized by a higher dry matter content and a higher digestibility.  They can be of plant origin or animal origin.  Some of them contain significant amounts of one or more minerals.

Mineral supplements are usually available in the form of powders to be offered with the concentrates and in the form of blocks to be offered as licks.  They contain varying combinations of minerals. An ideal mineral supplement should supply the shortfall between the animals needs and what is available in the feed it receives.

page 14

What types of ruminant feed are there?
29 There are three main types of feed.

Roughages are feeds with a high fibrecontent.

30 They include:
- grasses
- fodders
- legumes
either fresh
31 or preserved as
- hay (See H. 5.3)
- silage (See H. 5.4)


- leaves of trees (tree fodders) (See H. 5.2)
- crop residues (See H.1)
either fresh

page 15

33 or treated to improve the nutrient value e.g. urea treated straw (See H. 5.5).
34 Concentrates are feeds with a higher dry matter content and a higher digestibility.

Plant concentrates
There are two types of concentrates which come from plants.

35 Energy-rich concentrates
These include:
- dried cassava tubers
- cereals e.g. rice, wheat, maize, millet, sorghum
- agricultural by-products e.g. rice bran, wheat bran, molasses.
36 Protein-rich concentrates
These include residues after you remove oil from vegetable products e.g. cakes or meals.


page 16

Animal concentrates
37 Concentrates which come from animals have more high-quality proteins.
38 They include by-products from milk processing e.g.
- skim milk
- whey
for calf feeds.
These are too expensive for adult animals.
 Mineral supplements
39 The roughages and concentrates contain most of the minerals required by cattle and buffalo.

Supplements are necessary where the quantities in the feed fall short of requirements.

40 A good mineral supplement should make up for the shortfall of minerals in feeds.
Consult your extension worker about this.


page 17

 Feed quality

The value of a feed depends on:

- How much of the intended product (e.g. milk, work, meat) is produced with a unit quantity of the feed.

- How much of it will be consumed by an animal (feed intake).

It is not easy, however, to establish such a relationship because the final outcome depends on a combination of feeds and many other factors (e.g. the animal's potential for production, the environment, management practices etc.).

A simpler way to evaluate the quality of a feed is to determine the quantity of nutrients that can be digested and absorbed from a given quantity of the feed.  Even this is not easy to carry out, because it involves:

- analysis of a sample of the feed in a laboratory to determine its composition, and

- tests to determine the digestibility of each component.

However, in most countries, data is already available on the nutritive value of at least the more important feedstuffs.  It is very important to remember that the nutritive value of any particular feedstuff can vary, depending on a large number of factors.  Some examples are:

- the same grass grown in different locations may have differ-ent nutritive values depending on:

 - climatic conditions and season e.g. rainfall, environmental temperatures, elevation above sea-level etc;

 - soil fertility and fertilizer application;

 - stage of growth etc.

- hay or silage made from the same plot of grass may have different nutritive values depending on the process of hay making, ensiling etc;

- rice bran from different mills or from the same mill at different times may have different nutritive values.

Therefore, the extension officer should be aware of the different feedstuffs available to the farmers in his area, and consult the appropriate research institute or authority to obtain information on the nutritive values of these feedstuffs.

page 18

 How can you find the value of feeds?
41 The value of a feed is

- what your animal produces (e.g. milk, meat, work)
in relation to

- what your animal eats (feed intake).

42 The value of feeds depends on many factors:

- type of feedstuff and variety of plant
- climate
- stage of growth
- type of processing.

43 Laboratory analysis gives the value of feed.
After a lot of laboratory analysis, estimates of feed value are usually available.
44 Consult your extension worker for advice on the value of different feeds.

Total digestible nutrients (TDN)


page 19

 In the Asian region, the nutritive values of cattle/buffalo feeds are usually expressed in terms of the TDN, DCP and the content of important mineral elements in 100 g of the feedstuff (i.e. as a percentage).

- TDN (Total Digestible Nutrients) is a measure of the amount of energy that can be obtained from a unit quantity of the feed.  A particular feed with 60 % TDN contains 60 g of TDN in 100 g of the feed or 600 g of TDN in 1 kg of the feed.

- DCP (Digestible Crude Protein) is a measure of the amount of protein in the feed that can be digested and absorbed by the animal.  A feed with 20 % DCP contains 20 g of digestible crude protein in 100 g of the feed or 200 g of digestible crude protein in 1 kg of the feed.

- The amounts of important minerals contained in the feeds are also usually indicated in terms of a percentage.  Thus a feed with 1 % Phosphorus contains 1 g of Phosphorus in 100 g of the feed or 10 g of Phosphorus in 1 kg of the feed.

The DM (Dry Matter Content) of a feed, e.g. grass, can vary widely.  Thus the nutritive values expressed in terms of 100 g of grass, for example, may not be meaningful.  Therefore, the nutritive value is usually expressed in terms of a percentage of the DM in the feed.  However, it is sometimes expressed as a percentage of the whole feed.  The DM percentage is also indicated to make the necessary computations.

The extension officer should:

- have a clear understanding of these differences; and

- make the appropriate adjustments in computing the nutritive value of the feeds available to farmers.

page 20

45 TDN tells you how much energy your animals can get from a feed.
46 If your feed has 60 % TDN your animals can get 600 g TDN (of energy) from 1 kg of feed.
Digestible crude protein (DCP)
47 DCP tells you how much protein your animals can get from feed.
 48 If your feed has 20 % DCP your animals can get 200 g of protein from 1 kg of feed.


page 21

49 Important minerals are necessary.
If your feed has 1 % phosphorous your animals can digest 10 g of phosphorous in 1 kg of feed.
Dry matter content (DM)
50 The DM of feeds is very different in:
- different types of feed
- stage of harvesting or growth
- type of processing
- climate.
51 Check carefully if the TDN, DCP and mineral values are percentages of the DM or the total feed.
Consult your extension worker .
How can you find the feed intake of your animals?
52 Feed intake (DM of feed)

 A simple way is to take:
body weight x 3

page 22

Feed intake  (52-61)

A feed has two main components: water and dry matter.  It is the DM component that supplies the nutrients.  Therefore, feed intake refers to dry matter intake (DMI).

The approximate DMI of cattle can be computed in different ways:

- 3 % of the body weight
- 21/2 % of body weight + 10% of milk yield
- 6 kg + 1 % of body weight + 20 % of milk yield

The estimated DMI based on the last method of computation is given in Table 1 in Annex 2.

The DMI depends on many factors.  Among them are availability of water, type and quality of roughage, feeding frequency, amount of concentrates given, digestibility of the feeds, condition of the animal, weather conditions etc.

Roughages are very important in the diet of ruminants because they supply the crude fibre which is necessary for proper functioning of the rumen.  Optimally 18-20 % of the DMI has to be crude fibre.

If the crude fibre content is too low, milk fat content in the milk can fall.  On the other hand, if the crude fibre content is too high, the animal will not be able to consume sufficient DM.  Thus it will not receive all its requirements of energy and proteins, and the milk yield will drop.

page 23

53 So for a 300 kg cow, the feed intake is:

300 kg x 3 = 9 kg

54 To allow for milk yield, you can estimate the feed intake as:

6 kg + body weight + milk yield
                  100                   5

55 So, for

300 kg cow 10 kg milk yield,

feed intake is:

6 kg + 300 kg + 10 kg = 11.0 kg
             100           5

56 Ask your extension worker to show you a table.

Feed intake for a 400 kg cow with a milk yield of 10 kg.


page 24

57 The feed intake depends on:

- climate
- availability of water
- how often you feed your animals

- the type and quality of roughages
- the amount of concentrates
- how digestible the feeds are etc.
59 At least 20 % of the feed intake should be crude fibre for good digestion.

Roughages are important because they provide crude fibre.

60 Too little crude fibre content leads to low milk fat content.

Too high crude fibre content leads to poor feed intake and low milk yields.


page 25

Water intake  (62-64)

Water is an essential requirement for the proper functioning of animals.  Some of its main actions relate to: digestion and absorption of food; transport of nutrients throughout the body and metabolic wastes to the excretory organs (being a component of all body fluids); control of body temperature (conductive and evaporative cooling) and milk secretion (being a component of the milk).

Animals obtain their water requirements from three main sources:

- water in the food;

- water consumed voluntarily;

- water formed in metabolic activities of the body.

As a rule of thumb, lactating cows require 4 to 6 litres of water per kg DM consumed.  Higher amounts may be required in hot tropical conditions.

The ideal is to allow dairy cattle and buffalo continuous access to drinking water.  Where this is not possible, they should be offered as much as they can drink, at least twice a day.

page 26

61 Buffaloes can make use of coarse feeds better than cattle.
Water intake

62 You can estimate that lactating cows need 4-6 l of water for each 1 kg of feed intake (DM).

63 So the 300 kg cow with a 10 kg milk yield and 10 kg feed intake needs:

11 kg            x        6 l          = 66 l

(feed intake)        (water)

64 If possible, give your animals free access to water.

If not, make sure they have enough to drink at least twice a day.

page 27

Nutrient requirements  (65-73)

The requirements of the different nutrients vary depending on several factors.  Basically they can be considered as maintenance requirements and production requirements.  Compare the nutrient requirements of dairy cattle/buffalo to the fuel requirements of a motorcycle.

Maintenance requirement is the requirement of nutrients to just maintain the animal without losing body weight.  It depends on the size of the animal, which is usually measured in terms of its weight.

(If a motorcycle is started without being put to any use, some fuel and lubricating oils will be used up.  In a similar manner, the living animal also uses up mainly energy and proteins and also small quantities of other nutrients, just to maintain the body mechanisms functioning.)

Production requirement is the requirement of nutrients for the various production functions.  The different production functions require varying amounts of nutrients.

- A young animal that is still growing requires more nutrients in addition to its requirement for maintenance.

(A motorcycle requires more fuel and oil to be driven from one place to another.)

- A pregnant animal requires more nutrients for the growth of its calf (foetus) in addition to its own maintenance re-quirement.  A young growing heifer which is also pregnant requires nutrients for maintenance, its own growth and the growth of its calf.

(Compare to a motorcycle - using its engine power to move from one place to another, with an additional passenger.)

page 28

 How can you find the nutrient requirements of your animals?
Maintenance requirement

65 This is the amount of nutrients an animal needs when it is not growing or producing.

It depends on the weight.

Production requirement

66 Your animal needs more than the maintenance requirement to produce
= production requirement

67 Your animal needs extra nutrients for:
- growth
- pregnancy
- milk production
- work.


page 29

 - A lactating animal requires more nutrients for milk production in addition to its maintenance requirement.  Thus a cow that starts lactating before completing its own growth requires nutrients for its maintenance, own growth and milk production.

(Compare to a motorcycle - using its engine power moving from one place to another, up a hill.)

- An animal that is used for work requires more nutrients for work in addition to its maintenance requirement.

(Compare to a  motorcycle used to pull a carriage.)

The nutrient requirements of dairy cattle have been worked out under experimental conditions.  (See Tables 2 and 3 in Annex 2)

page 30

Ask your extension worker to show you tables:

69 Growing heifers (small breeds)

Body                Daily weight         Protein                  Energy                  Minerals
weight (kg)       gain (kg)          Total (g)     DCP (g)         TDN (kg)      Calcium       Phosphorus

    50                       500                  215       160                0.9                  4.9                3.8

    75                       550                  275       190               1.2                  7.0                5.4

  100                       550                  320        210              1.6                  9.0                7.0

70 Growing heifers (large breeds)

  100                       750                  370        260               2.0                 10.9              8.4

  150                       750                  435        295               2.7                 15.0            12.0

  200                       750                  500        330               3.4                 18.0             14.0

71 Maintenance of mature lactating cows

  350                                               468         220               2.8                 14.0            11.0

  400                                               521         245              3.1                 17.0            13.0

  450                                               585         275               3.4                 18.0            14.0

72 Maintenance and pregnancy 
(last 2 months of gestation) 

  500                                               780          430             4.8                   29.0           22.0

  550                                               850          465             5.2                   31.0           24.0

  600                                               910          500             5.6                   34.0           26.0

73 Milk production (nutrients/kg milk)

% Fat

    4.0                                               78               51           0.330                 2.7               2.0

    4.5                                               82               54           0.355                 2.8               2.1

    5.0                                               86              56          0.380                 2.9               2.2

page 31

Balanced rations  (74)

Remember that all nutrients have to be supplied in required amounts.  If there is a deficiency in the supply of any one nutrient, the animal will be unable to utilize adequately the other nutrients supplied.

The principal of the minimum bucket applies.  The deficient nutrient limits the utilization of the others.

Therefore, balanced rations should be supplied in adequate amounts.

The extension officer should:

- develop the skills to formulate suitable rations incorporating available feeds for the dairy cattle/buffalo in the local area, using the standard nutrient requirements and nutritive values of various feeds as guidelines; and

- advise farmers on feeding these rations to their cattle and buffalo.

Ration calculation  (75-83)

An example is worked out below to show how to do a ration calculation.  The example is simplified for easy understanding of the principles.  The field situation can be more difficult and variable.

To get a clearer picture of the field situation, a ration calcu-lation worksheet can be used.  (See extension materials). 

 Step 1 - Obtain general data

 - age and body weight of cow
 - milk yield and fat percentage
 - stage of lactation and pregnancy and lactation number
 - feeds available and their nutritive values
 - tables of nutrient requirements 

 Assume step 1 results in the following information:

 Crossbred cow; age 4 years and body weight 400 kg; daily milk yield 10 kg with 5 % butter fat; 2nd month of lactation; not pregnant and lactation number 2:

  Feed available                                             Nutritive value

                                                           DM            TDN           DCP
                                                           (%)           (% DM)     (%  DM)

  Fresh grass                                        20                 60                4
  Concentrate mix                                  90                 70              18

page 32

Balanced rations
74 Your animals need balanced rations.

If one nutrient is lacking, they cannot make good use of the other nutrients, even if the other nutrients are sufficient.

How can you calculate rations?
You must collect information for your worksheet (See A on next page) e.g.:

Your crossbred cow
Age: 4 years
Body weight: 400 kg
Pregnant: No
Lactation: 2nd month of 2nd lactation.

76 Your milk
Milk yield: 10 kg/day
Butter fat: 5 %
77 Your Feeds

Nutritive value
                     DM          TDN          DCP
                     (%)        (% DM)     (% DM)

Fresh grass    20              60              4

Concentrate  90              70             18


  page 33


Farmers name: Date:
Advisors name: Cow No: 

Weight of cow:                   (kg)              Milk yield:             kg/day 
Stage of lactation:             (months)      Butterfat                    % 
Age of cow:                        (years)        
Dry matter intake:             kg              Gestation:               months 
Feeds available:                                   Lactation No: 
a) on the farm: 

b) purchasable: 




                                                               TDN kg                 Protein kg 
Desired weight gain: 
Milk production: 



      Feed         DM %        TDN %          Protein %      Cost per kg 







Notes: 1 Desired weight gain: add 20 % to the maintenance allowance during the first lactation and 10 % during the second lactation.

        2 At least 25% of DMI must come from forage to protect milk quality.

 page 34
Step 2 -  Fill in part A of ration calculation sheet

Step 3 - Calculate the requirements of the cow (part B of sheet) as follows:

Animal's requirements        DM (kg)         TDN (kg)          DCP (kg)

Maintenance                              -                 3,1001              2451
Desired weight gain                  -                    3102                252
Milk production                          -                 3,8003              5603
Gestation                                    -                      -                      -
Total                                      12.04              7,210                830

(1) The relevant values for cow of 400 kg body weight from Table 3.

(2) 10 % of maintenance requirement as the cow is in second

(3) The relevant values against 5 % fat in Table 3 multiplied by 10.

(4) Given value for 400 kg cow with 10 kg milk yield per day. See # 56

 page 35


78 You must calculate the requirements of your cow:

Animal Requirements
Desired weight gain2
Milk production3

1 See the table in 71 above for a 400 kg cow.
2 As the cow is in 2nd lactation, take 10 % of the maintenance ration:

TDN = 3,100 g = 310 
DCP = 245 g = 25 g
3 See the table in 73 above for 5 % fat. For 10 kg milk/day:

                     TDN = 0.380 kg x 1,000 g x 10 = 3,800 g

                     DCP = 56 g x 10 = 560 g

4 See the table in 56 above - DM for a 400 kg cow with a milk yield of 10 kg/day.

 page 36

Step 4 - Calculate the amount of nutrients that can be supplied by roughages

In this example, only one roughage is considered.  In the field various combinations of roughages may have to be considered.  In any event, the availabilities of roughages will vary during different seasons.  Therefore, fresh computations have to be done when the availability changes.

If the total DM requirement of 12 kg is supplied with the available fresh grass, the nutrients supplied are:

 TDN (600 x 12)             = 7,200 g
 DCP (40 x 12)               =    480 g

Therefore, there is a shortfall of (7,210 - 7,200 =) 10 TDN and (830 - 480 =) 350 g DCP.

It is also unlikely that the cow will consume (100/20 x 12 =) 60 kg of the fresh grass to obtain 12 kg of DM from grass alone, because of the bulk and the low palatability.

Therefore, it would be necessary to offer a concentrate to meet the shortfall.

 Step 5 - Calculate the amount of nutrients that have to be supplied from concentrates

In this particular example, it is assumed that the cow will consume only about 9 kg DM of grass i.e. (100/20 x 9 =) 45 kg of fresh grass.

                                             DM (kg)        TDN (kg)         DCP (kg)

Total requirement                       12              7,210                 830
Supplied from grass                      9              5,400                 360
Shortfall                                        3              1,810                 470

By supplying 3 kg DM of the concentrate containing 70 % TDN and 18 % DCP, 2,100 g TDN and 540 g DCP will be available to the cow, thereby meeting the shortfall in the nutrients.  If the concentrate mixture contained 90 % DM, the amount of concentrate mixture to be supplied is (100/90 x 3 =) 3.3 kg.

page 37


You must calculate the amount of nutrient available from:
79 Different roughages are available in different areas and different seasons.

Calculate again where the roughage changes. Here is an example for one roughage: fresh grass.

80 Your cow needs (See 70-72):

    DM       TDN       DCP
    12.0 kg   7,210 g    830g

If your fresh grass provides (See 77):

    20 %
60 %
4 %
20 kg DM come from 100 kg fresh grass 


12 kg DM come from 100/20 x 12 kg

= 60 kg fresh grass

1 kg DM provides 600 g TDN 


12 kg DM provide 600 x 12

= 7,200 g TDN

1 kg DM provides 40 g DCP 


12 kg DM provide 40 x 12

= 480 g DCP

7,200 g TDN 
480 g DCP 
are available in 60 kg fresh grass


TDN: 7,210 g                      -               7,200 g               = 10 g TDN

DCP: 830 g                         -                   480 g              = 350 g DCP

You must offer your animals concentrates to make up for this shortfall.

 page 38

81 If your cow only consumes 45 kg fresh grass (9 kg DM)
                            DM (kg)                     TDN (g)                     DCP (g)

Your cow's             12                             7,210                            830

Available in               9 kg                         5,400                           360
Fresh grass               3                             1,810                            470
short fall         -----------------------------------------------------------------

82 If you use this concentrate:

DM (kg)         TDN (70%)        DCP (18%)

1 kg                 700 g                    180 g

3 kg                 2,100 g                  540 g

3 kg DM is enough to meet the shortfall.

83 If the concentrate is 90 % DM, you need

3 kg x 100 = 3.3 kg concentrate
to meet the shortfall.

If your cow eats less than 45 kg fresh grass, then you need more concentrates.


page 39

 Concentrate mixtures  (84-87)

Sometimes it is necessary to make concentrate mixture to meet particular needs.


            (i)   - in the above example (Step 5), the shortfall from the fresh grass was 1,800 g TDN and 400 g DCP i.e. the grass contained more DCP;

            (ii)   - in the concentrate mixture that was available (i.e. concentrate mixture 1) each kg DM contained 700 g TDN and 180 g DCP i.e. 180 g DCP per 700 g TDN or (180/170 x 1,000 =) 257 g DCP per kg TDN;

            (iii)   - the requirement would be 1,800 g TDN and 400 g DCP i.e. (400/1,800 x 1,000 =) 222 g DCP per kg TDN.

The requirement, therefore, is for a mixture with less DCP than the one available.  If the available mixture is fed, there will be a wastage of DCP, when adequate TDN is supplied.

This mixture has to be balanced with another feedstuff with less DCP.  Suppose rice bran with DM 90 %, TDN 50 % and DCP 9.0 % is available.  It has 90 g DCP per 500 g TDN or (90/500 x 1,000 =) 180 g DCP per kg TDN.

page 40

Concentrate mixes
84 The concentrate in 82 above provides 700 g TDN and 180 g DCP for each 1 kg DM.

So 1 kg TDN provides

180 x 1,000 = 257 g DCP/kg TDN

85 This farmer has a shortfall of:

TDN                DCP

1,800 g            400 g

from the roughage available to him.

So the requirement is:

400 x 1,000 = 222 g DCP/kg TDN

86 If he feeds the concentrate in 82, when the animal has enough TDN, there is a wastage of DCP.

He can mix the concentrate with a feed which has less DCP e.g. rice bran with the following composition:


          DM        TDN        DCP
          90 %       50 %       9 %

So the rice bran has:

90 g DCP/500 g TDN or

90 x 1,000 = 180 g DCP/kg TDN


page 41

 By using Pearson's Square, the composition of the new ration (i.e. concentrate mixture II) can be calculated.
Mixture II
Rice bran 
 The new concentrate mixture (i.e. concentrate mixture II) should contain (35/77 x 100) = 45 % DM for rice bran and (42/77 x 100) = 55 % DM from concentrate mixture I.  As the DM contents of the concentrate mixture I and rice bran are given as 90 % the quantities to be used by weight are also in the same proportions.  If the DM contents are different, the proportions of concentrates mixture I and rice bran have to be adjusted accordingly.

3 kg DM of concentrate mixture II would contain 1,650 g DM from concentrate mixture I and 1,350 g of DM from rice bran.  The nutrients supplied by 3 kg DM of the concentrate mixture II are as follows:

Feed                                  Quantity                 TDN                       DCP
                                         of DM (g)                 (g)                          (g)

Concentrate                          1,650         700 x 1,650 = 1,155         180 x 1,650 = 297
Mixture I                                                1,000                               1,000

Rice bran                              1,350         500 x 1,350 =   675       90 x 1,350      =121
                                                               1,000                           1,000
Concentrate                          3,000                              1,830                              418
Mixture II                      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

This shows that 3 kg DM which is equal to (100/90 x 3 kg =) 3.3 kg by weight of concentrate mixture II are adequate to meet the shortfall of TDN and DCP supply from fresh grass.

page 42

He can use Pearson's Square to calculate the composition of the new concentrate mix.
Concentrate Mix
(from 82)
257 g DCP/kg TDN available 42 (222-180) parts concentrate (from 81)
222 g DCP/kg TDN requirement
Rice bran 180 g DCP/kg TDN available 35 (257-222) parts rice bran
77 (42+35) parts concentrate mix
So for a concentrate mix 
with 222 g DCP/kg TDN, mix:

35 x 100 = 45% DM rice bran with

42 x 100 = 55% DM concentrate
77 (from 82)

(The DM for rice bran and concentrates are both given as 90%. Adjust if the DM's are different).
3 kg of concentrate mix provide:

Feed                           DM (g)                  TDN (g)                     DCP (g)

Concentrate        55 x 3,000 = 1,650        700 x 1,650= 1,155        180 x 1,650 = 297 
(from 82)              100                                   1,000                              1,000

 Rice bran          45 x 3,000 = 1,350         500 x 1,350 = 675        90 x 1,350  = 121
                           100                                  1,000                           1,000
Concentrate mix           3,000                             1,830                          418

So 3 kg DM or 100 x 3 kg = 3.3 kg of concentrate mix is enough to meet the 
shortfall of TDN and DCP from fresh grass in 85 (page 24). 

page 43

 Notes  (88-91)

- Ration calculations should be used only as a guideline.  The nutritive value and the palatability of the same feedstuff can vary widely depending on a large number of factors.  There are differences among individual animals, too, with regard to feed utilization.

 However, feeding the animals based on a scientific method is definitely better than blindly offering whatever is available.

- Even in this particular example, if the cow does not eat 45 kg of fresh grass per day or if this quantity is not available, more concentrates will have to be offered to meet the shortfall in the nutrient supply.

- It is generally accepted that 1 kg of a good concentrate mixture supports the production of 2 kg of milk.  However, when the amount of concentrates offered is increased, the amount of milk produced from each kg of concentrates de-creases (law of diminishing returns).

- This is particularly important when the difference between the prices of concentrates and milk is very small (or if the concentrates cost more than milk).  On the other hand, if the animals do not receive sufficient nutrients, apart from low yields of milk other problems such as long calving intervals can arise due to the cows not conceiving regular-ly.

- Apart from the energy and protein supplies, mineral requirements also have to be supplied.  A suitable mineral mixture should be provided either with the concentrates or as a separate lick.

 page 44

 Annex 1 Feeding dairy buffaloes

The countries where buffaloes are raised for both milk production and as draught animals have large animal populations.  The feeding of stock is not always given proper attention.  In India and Pakistan, buffaloes are raised mostly on crop residues.  Part of the requirements are met through grazing stubble, canal banks etc.  Green fodder is also produced and fed under the cut and carry system.  The fodder is grown to such a stage of maturity that it provides lots of bulk but lacks nutrients.  Rice and wheat straw are fed in plenty since year round supply of green fodder is not ensured.

Although buffaloes have shown excellent abilities for using crop residues, for satisfactory milk yield, an adequate fodder supply is essential during all stages of raising.  For lactating animals adequate nutrients must be provided both for body maintenance and production.  In good producers even ample green fodder may not fulfil all the requirements.  Hence feed supplements/concentrates are required.

After parturition even poorly fed buffaloes tend to maintain milk production for a few days at the expense of their body.  This leads to poor production and shorter lactations.

In India and Pakistan and several other countries many village buffaloes are low producers because their requirements are not met.  Much higher milk production potential has been demonstrated in well managed herds which produce over 3,000 litres of milk per lactation.

Good buffaloes produce 12-15 litres of milk per day and on average between 5-10 litres of milk per day.  Higher producing animals must be provided with ample nutrients to maintain production as well as general health.

page 45

 Buffalo can consume a variety of coarse fodders.  For milk production 1 kg of concentrate is fed for 2 to 2.5 litres of milk produced.  A ration could consist of green fodder + wheat straw + concentrate.  Depending on the dry matter and TDN the green fodder, straw and concentrates must be adjusted.

60 to 70 kg of succulent fodders (Egyptian clover etc) would be fed to a buffalo weighing 500 kg.  A single source of fodder may be deficient in nutrients such as legumes and require phosphorus supplementation.  When a large quantity of wheat or rice straw is fed, Ca and P deficiency occurs.

For fodders with less maize, millet etc and high dry matter the quantity should be adjusted to between 20 to 30 kg per day along with some straw and concentrate.  Avoid feeding coarse fodders to lactating animals.  Silage or hay can also be efficiently used if available.

Feeding pregnant buffaloes

The ideal calving interval is 13-14 months.  Owing to feeding and management practices, however, the animals tend to have a long calving interval with a long dry period.  Since many pregnant buffaloes will not be producing any milk during the last part of pregnancy, these are not properly fed.  During this period the buffalo should build up body reserves lost in early lactation.  Nutrients are required for the fast growing foetus during the later stages of pregnancy.  The body condition of the buffalo must be given proper attention.  In addition to good fodder, 1 to 1.5 kg concentrate during the last part of pregnancy will help in attaining good foetal growth, health of buffaloes and a good start in subsequent production.

page 46

88 Use these examples and calculations as guidelines.

Consult your extension worker when planning feeds.

89 You can estimate that 1 kg of good concentrate mix supports the production of 2 kg of milk, but increasing concentrates does not increase milk production at the same rate.
90 Calculate carefully:
- giving too much concentrates wastesmoney.

- giving too little concentrates may lead to low milk yields or calving intervals.

 91 You should meet your animal's mineral requirements by:
- mixing with concentrates
- a separate mineral lick.


page 47

What do you know about feeding dairy cattle and buffalo? 
Important points in feeding 
1 Good feeding and breeding must go together for high milk production 
2 Animals need: 
- nutrients for strength, health 
- minerals for strong bones and joints 
- proteins for strong muscles 
- carbohydrates and fats for energy 
- vitamins for proper body functioning 
- to be fed the right amounts of the correct feeds 
Digestion of feeds
1 The complex stomach 
- abomasum 
- rumen, reticulum, omasum 
2 Stomach development in calves 
3 Stomach capacity 
4 Stomach micro-organisms 
5 High milk production requires correct feeding 
Types of ruminant feed
1 Roughages 
- have high fibre content 
- examples 
2 Concentrates
- have higher DM and digestibility 
- plant concentrates 
- energy-rich 
- protein-rich 
- animal concentrates 
3 Mineral supplements 
Finding the value of feeds
1 General
- production related to consumption 
- variation in value of feeds 
2 TDN 
3 DCP 
4 Minerals 
5 DM 
Finding feed intake
1 DM intake 
- simple calculation 
- including milk yield 
- factors affecting intake 
- crude fibre content 
- buffalo use coarse feeds more efficiently than cattle 
2 Water intake
- estimating intake 
- free access
Finding nutrient requirements
 1 Maintenance 
2 Production 
Tables for: 
- growth 
- maintenance of lactating cows 
- pregnancy 
- milk production 
3 Balanced rations 
Calculating rations
1 Ration calculation worksheet 
- information required 
- animal requirements 
- nutrient content of feeds available 
2 Concentrates to meet shortfalls 
3 Concentrate mixes
- to avoid wastage 
- calculation of mix 
4 Important points in calculations 

page 50

Farmers name: Date:
Advisors name: Cow No: 

Weight of cow:                   kg              Milk yield:                 kg/day 
Stage of lactation:              months      Butterfat                    % 
Age of cow:                        years          Milk yield 4%FCM    kg/day
Dry matter intake:             kg              Gestation:                  months 
Feeds available:                                   Lactation No: 
a) on the farm: 

b) purchasable: 




                                                               TDN kg                 Protein kg 
Desired weight gain: 
Milk production: 



           Feed            DM %           TDN %          Protein %      Cost per kg 







1 Desired weight gain: add 20 % to the maintenance allowance during the first lactation and 10 % during the second lactation. 

2 At least 25% of DMI must come from forage to protect milk quality.

page 51

Table 1 : 
The Estimated Dry Matter Intake of a Cow1


 MILK YIELD kg/day

 kg Live        NIL           5          10         15        20        25       30        35        kg Live
 Weight                                                                                                              Weight
 350              9.5          10.5       11.5      12.5     13.5     14.5     15.5     16.5        350
 400            10.0          11.0       12.0      13.0     14.0     15.0     16.0     17.0        400
 450            10.5          11.5       12.5      13.5     14.5     15.5     16.5     17.5        450
 475            10.8          11.8       12.8      13.8     14.8     15.8     16.8     17.8        475
 500            11.0          12.0       13.0      14.0     15.0     16.0     17.0     18.0        500
 525            11.2          12.2       13.2      14.2     15.2     16.2     17.2     18.2        525
 550            11.5          12.5       13.5      14.5     15.5     16.5     17.5     18.5        550
 575            11.8          12.8       13.8      14.8     15.8     16.8     17.8     18.8        575
 600            12.0          13.0       14.0      15.0     16.0     17.0     18.0     19.0        600
 625            12.2          13.2       14.2      15.2     16.2     17.2     18.2     19.2        625
 650            12.5          13.5       14.5      15.5     16.5     17.5     18.5     19.5        650
 675            12.8          13.8       14.8      15.8     16.8     17.8     18.8     19.8        675
1) Formula used: DMI - 6 kg + 1% of body weight and 20% of milk yield.

page 52

Table 2 :

Daily Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle - Heifers

Body                Daily              PROTEIN                       ENERGY
Weight            Gain 
                                           Total       Digestible         NZ         TDN           Ca         P
(kg)                  (g)              (g)               (g)           (Mcal)       (kg)        (g)       (g)
Growing Heifers (*mall broods)

 20                   100               65                60               1.1           0.3          1.1        0.8
 25                   150               90                80               1.5           0.4          1.5        1.1
 35                   300              135             110                2.1          0.6          3.2        2.5
 50                   500              215             160                3.3          0.9          4.9        3.8
 75                   550              275             190                4.3          1.2          7           5.4
 100                 550              320             210                 5.8         1.6          9           7
 150                 550              390             245                 8.3         2.3        12           9
 200                 550              460             280               10.5         2.9        15         11
 250                 550              550             320               12.6         3.5        17         13
 300                 500              590             330               13.7         3.8        19         14

Growing Netters (large breads)

 40                  200              110              100                 1.8          0.5          2.2        1.7
 45                  300              135              120                 2.1          0.6          3.2        2.5
 55                  400              180              145                 3.3          0.9          4.5        3.5
 75                  750              330              245                 5.4          1.5          9.1        7.0
 100                750              370              260                 7.2          2.0         10.9        8.4
 150                750              435              295                 9.8          2.7         15         12
 200                750              500              330               12.3          3.4         15         14
 250                750              570              365               14.4          4.0         21         16
 300                750              640              395               16.2          4.5         24         15
 350                750              715              430               17.7          4.9         25         19
Source: Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle. 4th edition. 1971. National Academy of science. Washington.

page 53

Table 3: 

Daily Nutrient Requirements of Lactating Dairy Cattle

Body                     ENERGY                      PROTEIN 
Weight                  HE        TDN            Total          Digestible                Ca           P
(kg)                   (Mcal)      (kg)             (g)                 (g)                     (g)         (g)
Maintenance of Mature Lactating Cows

350                      10.1        2.8               468               220                     14           11
400                      11.2        3.1               521               245                     17           13
450                      12.3        3.4               585               275                     18           14
500                      13.4        3.7               638               300                     20           15
550                      14.4        4.0               691               325                     21           16
600                      15.5        4.2               734               345                     22           17
650                      16.2        4.5               776               365                     23           15
700                      17.3        4.8               830               390                     25           19
750                      18.0        5.0               872               410                     26           20
800                      19.1        5.3               915               430                     27           21

Maintenance and Pregnancy (last 2 months of gestation)

350                     13.0         3.6               570               315                    21            16
400                     14.1         4.3               650               355                    23            15
450                     15.9         4.4               730               400                    26            20
500                     17.3         4.8               780               430                    29            22
550                     18.8         5.2               850               465                    31            24
600                     20.2         5.6               910               500                    34            26
650                     21.6         6.0               960               530                    36            28
700                     22.7         6.3             1000              555                    39            30
750                     24.2         6.7             1080               595                    42            32
800                     25.6         7.1             1150               630                    44            34

Milk Production (nutrient required per kg of milk)

2.5                      0.91         0.255             66                 42                    2.4          1.7
3.0                      0.99         0.280             70                 45                    2.5          1.8
3.5                      1.06         0.305             74                 48                    2.6          1.9
4.0                      1.13         0.330             78                 51                    2.7          2.0
4.5                      1.21         0.355             82                 54                    2.8          2.1
5.0                      1.28         0.380             86                 56                    2.9          2.2
5.5                      1.36         0.405             90                 15                    3.0          2.3
6.0                      1.43         0.430             94                 60                    3.1          2.4
Source: Nutrient requirements of Dairy Cattle. 4 th edition, 1971, National Academy of Science. Washington

Note: for desired weight gain.  Add 20% to the maintenance allowance during the first lactation and 10% during the second lactation.

page 54

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