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EFFECT OF WORK CRUSHING SUGARCANE ON PREGNANCY AND LACTATION IN CATTLE AND BUFFALOES

  • van Thu, N. (Faculty of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine, University of Cantho) ;
  • Pearson, R.A. (Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh) ;
  • Preston, T.R. (University of Agriculture and Forestry) ;
  • Fajersson, P. (Texas A and M Field Station)
  • Received : 1995.09.28
  • Accepted : 1996.02.27
  • Published : 1996.08.01

Abstract

The suitability of female cattle ($Brahman{\times}Holstein$) and buffaloes (Murrah / Jafarabadi) for work on a sugarcane crusher was tested. The animals were fed chopped sugarcane tops and elephant grass supplemented with rice bran and urea-molasses blocks. In experiment 1, six cattle and six buffaloes, (with three animals seven to eight months pregnant at the start of the experiment in each group), worked individually, alternate weeks for 90 minutes a day for 6 d/week. Within the 90 min, cattle did more work than buffaloes (p < 0.05), and non-pregnant animals did more than pregnant animals, but cattle crushed significantly (p < 0.05) more cane per day than buffaloes. During work animals lost weight, but gained the weight back during resting weeks, when fodder intakes were higher. There were no significant differences in live weight change and fodder intakes between pregnant and non-pregnant animals during the six weeks. In experiment 2, four pairs of lactating cows and buffaloes crushed sugarcane for 3 h/d, 6 d/week for three weeks. Work done was higher in cattle than buffaloes, but cane crushed was marginally lower. All animals lost weight during work, particularly in the first week, but gained weight during the week after work. Daily milk yield was lower during the working weeks ($-0.55{\pm}0.15kg$) than in the week before work. Butter fat yield showed no significant change. One buffalo showed ovarian activity and oestrus behaviour during the work. Two cows showed ovarian activity within one month after the work. It was concluded that pregnant and lactating cows and buffaloes can effectively operate a cane crusher, however a temporary reduction in milk yield can be expected in the working period, and ovarian activity may be suppressed.

Keywords

Sugarcane Crusher;Work;Cattle;Buffalo;Pregnancy;Lactation

Acknowledgement

Supported by : Swedish International Development Authority, (SIDA)