valuation of preparation methods for increased use of velvet beans (mucuna pruriens) as a source of protein in lactating dairy cows
This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of preparing velvet beans incorporating different treatments were based on different incorporating different components of velvet beans grain meal (20%), ground pod (25%) and ground pods with vines (30%) components into dairy concentrates. Experimental animals included crossbred Holstein fresians of different age groups and parity. The prepared diets were fed to both on-station and on-farm milking dairy animals. The feeding trials were scheduled to last eight weeks between the months of September and November in 2009. Before preparation of experimental diets, chemical composition analysis were performed on all three velvet bean components and the results showed that the forage had a crude protein of 28%, the grain with 23% and the pod withl7%). The CP content in all the components indicated that all velvet beans components have a potential to be used as a protein supplement in dairy concentrate rations. The results from the feeding trials showed that all the three velvet beans components were able to sustain milk production both on-station and on-farm despite the disparity in the management of the animals. Although all the preparations sustained milk production, the ground pod was the best form of velvet bean components because it was easy to prepare and readily accepted by animals. The processing of the pods was easier when compared to that grain of which was difficult rather to get from hard husks and the vines cannot be easily ground under the normal hammer mills unless using an industrial hammer mill which may not be ready available to most smallholder dairy farmers. Therefore, besides velvet beans improving soil fertility, it has potential to value to livestock production as a protein supplement for ruminants. So need to inform dairy farmers on the best form to provide to the animals. The value of velvet beans utilization is in minimizing cost of production as it has capacity to replace commercially available dairy concentrates, which are rather expensive.
- Agriculture