Effect of Work and Urea-Molasses Cake Supplementation on Live Weight and Milk Yield of Murrah Buffalo Cows

  • Van Thu, Nguyen (Department of Animal Husbandry, Faculty of Agriculture, Cantho University) ;
  • Uden, Peter (Department of Animal Nutrition and Managment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)
  • Received : 2000.01.18
  • Accepted : 2000.03.27
  • Published : 2000.09.01


Two experiments were carried out to investigate the effect of Murrah buffalo cows pulling sledges under field conditions on milk production and milk composition. In Exp. 1, 24 buffaloes in the fourth month of lactation were used. They were allotted to four treatments according to a $2{\times}2$ factorial arrangement: work or no work, and with or without urea-molasses cake supplementation (700 g/animal/day). Feeds consisted of 20 kg fresh elephant grass (18% DM), 2 kg rice bran per day and rice straw ad lib. The animals worked in pairs three hours per day (work done: $3464{\pm}786kJ/d$) five days a week for three months. Three teams worked in the morning and the others worked in the afternoon in the same day. The following day the working times were switched. In Exp. 2, 16 lactating Murrah buffalo cows in the sixth month of lactation were allotted to two groups (work and no work). They were fed with fresh ruzi grass (Brachiaria ruziziensis) ad lib. supplemented with 2 kg rice bran and 700 g urea-molasses cake. The working regime was similar to that of the first experiment (work done: $3753{\pm}879kJ/d$) and they worked for two months. In the first experiment, there was a small but significant drop (p<0.05) in milk yield from 3.5 to 3.0 kg/day due to work, but there was no supplementation effect. The working buffaloes lost 5.2 kg whereas the non-working animals gained 9.7 kg during the three months (p<0.05). Supplementation increased live weight by 9.9 kg as compared to -5.4 kg for those not supplemented (p<0.05). Milk composition was not affected by the treatments. In the second experiment, daily milk production was similar for both treatments and approximately 3 kg. No significant differences were found in milk composition or in live weight changes for working and non-working groups, respectively. It was concluded that work may cause a reduction in milk yield and a loss of live weight on a poor rice straw diet but that an appropriate supplementation can alleviate this situation.


Murrah Buffaloes;Work;Supplementation;Live Weight;Milk Yield