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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

To treat or not to treat

8. The decision to treat or not to treat is the farmer's. Farmers will be most interested in feeding treated straw to milking and fattening animals, which give an immediate monetary return.

9. Feeding with treated straw costs money daily, but this cost can be balanced by a regular income from the sale of milk.

10. Income from fattening animals is not received until some time later. Fattening therefore requires farmers either to have their own money or to have credit for purchasing urea.

11. Farmers are usually less willing to spend money on better feed for bullocks, dry or sterile cows and young stock. The monetary return from feeding working animals treated straw will come much later, when the crop is sold. The other important point is that bullocks can sometimes do surprisingly well on basal diets of untreated straw.

12. If a sterile or dry cow is used for work, farmers may feed it like a bullock. This is acceptable for the sterile cow, but not the dry cow. If the dry cow is going to calve within two or three months, it must be well to have a healthy calf and more milk during lactation.

13. There are very good reasons to feed treated straw to working and milking cows. It will enable them to maintain their body condition and milk production. There is no doubt that calves and heifers will grow faster if they are fed treated straw. However, this is often a low priority for farmers because of a scarcity of ready money.

14. In all cases to make full use of the treated straw, the animals will require supplementation.