Cover Image
close this bookBetter Farming Series 43 - Feeding Animals on Straw (FAO, 1995, 30 p.)
close this folderMethod of treatment
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentStraw as animal feed
View the documentTreatment of straw
View the documentTo treat or not to treat
View the documentSupplementation
View the documentDoes it pay?
View the documentHow to treat straw

Straw as animal feed

1. The cultivation of rice or other cereals such as wheat, maize or sorghum often produces large quantities of residues in the form of straw and stalks. These residues are poor feed for cattle. buffaloes. sheer and goats and are often wasted. They may serve as maintenance fodder, but animals that are fed straw alone will probably lose weight for the following reasons:

- It is difficult for the animals to eat very much, as they have problems digesting the straw.
- Straw has a poor nutritional value.

2. However, straw can be a suitable feed if it is treated with a water solution of urea. The treatment enables the animals to improve their digestion of the straw, which permits them to eat more of it.

3. It has been demonstrated that even if as little as one third of the straw is treated, the animals will be stimulated to eat more of the untreated straw.

4. The differences between untreated and treated straw are as follows:

Untreated straw

Treated straw

- Poor-quality feed

- Reasonable-quality feed

- Unpalatable, so animals eat little

- Palatable so animals eat more

- Animals lose weight

- Animals gain weight

- Animals produce more milk