Effect of Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia Crassipes) Silage on Intake and Nutrient Digestibility in Cattle Fed Rice Straw and Cottonseed Cake

  • Tham, Ho Thanh (Department of Animal Sciences, Can Tho University) ;
  • Uden, Peter (Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Kungsangen Research Centre)
  • Received : 2012.09.14
  • Accepted : 2012.11.18
  • Published : 2013.05.01


Four crossbred Sindhi heifers with an average body weight (BW) of 135 kg and a mean age of 17 months were used to investigate the effect of feeding different combinations of rice straw and ensiled water hyacinth (EWH) supplemented with a source of protein in the form of cottonseed cake (CSC) on intake and digestibility. Four treatments consisting of graded levels of EWH were arranged in a $4{\times}4$ Latin square. The levels of EWH were set at: 0 (EWH0), 15 (EWH15), 30 (EWH30), and 45% (EWH45) of an expected total dietary dry matter (DM) intake of 30 g total DM per kg BW per day. Rice straw was offered ad libitum, while CSC was given at a fixed level of 5 g DM/kg body weight (BW). Voluntary intake and digestibility were measured consecutively in the 4 experimental periods which each lasted 28 days. The crude protein (CP) content of EWH, rice straw and CSC were 174, 53 and 370 g/kg DM, respectively. Rice straw had the highest neutral detergent fibre (NDFom) content (666 g/kg DM), followed by EWH (503 g/kg DM) and the lowest content was 418 g/kg DM in the CSC. The actual EWH contents in the consumed diets were 0, 17, 32 and 52% for EWH0, EWH15, EWH30 and EWH45, respectively. Rice straw intake decreased with level of EWH offered from 3049 for EWH0 to 1014 g/day for EWH45. Crude protein intake was 16, 25 and 33% higher (p<0.001) in EWH15, EWH30 and EWH45 treatments, respectively, as compared to EWH0. Digestibility of organic matter (OM), CP, NDFom and acid detergent fibre (ADFom) increased with increasing level of EWH offered. The highest OM digestibility (72.2%) was found for treatment EWH45 and the lowest (47.4%) for treatment EWH0. In spite of similar dietary CP contents, CP digestibility increased by 21 (EWH15), 31 (EWH30) and 40% (EWH45) with increasing level of EWH in comparison with treatment EWH0. It is concluded that increasing level of EWH in cattle diets considerably improved CP intake and digestibility of nutrients.


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