PVNR TVU : Guar meal as a binder to prepare complete feed blocks for ruminants

Due to population pressure and urbanization, the land for fodder production has dwindled alarmingly and the cereal crop residues like paddy straw, sorghum straw, etc have become the major sources of feed for the ruminants. But these crop residues are low in nutritional value, fibrous and bulky and thus attempts are made to improve nutrient utilization from these crop resides by various methods and densified complete feed block technology is one of them. 

This article has been written by K Kondal Reddy and D Nagalakshmi, PVNRTVU, Hyderabad. 

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The technology consists of blending forage, concentrate and other supplementary nutrients in desired proportions capable to fulfill nutrient requirements of animal, and making compact blocks using a binder. Complete feed in block form may overcome problems like seasonal availability and low bulk density, storage, handling and transportation of roughage materials. It is convenient to transport feed resources to deficit region or area of natural calamities cost effectively and can form a part of “scarcity feed banks” for economic and viable livestock production programmes for small and marginal farmers, landless labourers and other weaker sections of the Indian society. This technique also provides opportunity for the incorporation of unconventional and agro-industrial by-products for economical livestock production.

At the Dept. of Animal Nutrition, College of veterinary science, Hyderabad, PVNRT Veterinary University, a study was done to evaluate the utilization of cereal crop residues (maize stover) in complete feed blocks along with guar meal as a protein supplement  and as a binder Guar meal is a by-product of guar seed used toproduce a valuable food stabilizer. Guar meal has very high protein content (up to 50%).

Feed blocks were prepared with maize stove using guar meal at different levels at 6%,8% and 10%. The guar meal at 10% level was very ideal for durability of the feed   block. Thus the use of guar meal not only acts as a binder but also supplements the protein needs, which can be fed to cattle and small ruminants (sheep and goat)