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Nutritional Management for Buffalo Production

  • Sarwar, M. ;
  • Khan, M.A. ;
  • Nisa, M. ;
  • Bhatti, S.A. ;
  • Shahzad, M.A.
  • Published : 2009.07.01

Abstract

The buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) is an important contributor to milk, meat, power, fuel and leather production in many developing countries. Buffaloes can be categorized into Asian and Mediterranean buffaloes. Asian buffalo includes two subspecies known as Riverine and Swamp types. Riverine (water buffalo) and Swamp buffaloes possess different genetics (50 vs. 48 chromosomes, respectively), morphology (body frame, body weight, horn shape and skin color) and behavior (wallowing in mud or water) and thus, are reared and used for different purposes. Low per head milk yield, poor reproductive performance (seasonal breeding behavior, anestrous, and longer calving interval) and low growth rate in buffaloes have been attributed to insufficient supply of nutrients. In many parts of Asia, where the buffalo is an integral part of the food chain and rural economy, irregular and inadequate availability of quality feedstuffs and their utilization are hampering the performance of this unique animal. Balanced nutrition and better management can enhance buffalo productivity. Many efforts have been made in the last few decades to improve nutrient supply and utilization in buffaloes. Recent research on locally available feed resources such as crop residues, and industrial by-products, dietary addition of micronutrients, use of performance modifiers and use of ruminally protected fat and protein sources have shown significant potential to improve growth, milk yield and reproductive performance of buffaloes. However, a number of issues, including establishment of nutrient requirements for dairy and beef, development of buffalo calf feeding systems, nutritional management of metabolic and reproductive anomalies, and understanding and exploitation of the buffalo gut ecosystem, need to be addressed. Extensive coordinated research and extension efforts are required for improved buffalo nutrition in developing countries.

Keywords

Buffalo;Nutrition;Feeding

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