Performance of dairy heifers fed different levels of cane molasses with rice straw as roughage
AbstractTwo feeding tests were conducted with high-grade Holstein dairy heifers to investigate the suitability of rations based on rice straw, sugar cane molasses plus additional starch and protein. Levels of chopped rice straw fed were either 25 or 35 per cent; cane molasses levels were 25, 33 and 45 per cent. The starch source consisted of dried sweet potato chips while the supplemental N was supplied by soya bean meal and urea (50:50). All the mixtures were consumed readily. Daily rates of gain per head varied from an average of 0·46 to 0· 2 kg on the different rations. All but the highest level of molasses gave satisfactory results. The heifers were in good health throughout the tests and fertility was very satisfactory. It is concluded that, where surpluses of rice straw and cane molasses are available, they may be fed to good advantage to ruminant livestock. However, care must be exercised to supply starch in addition to molasses, as well as providing adequate protein. More research is necessary to determine the optimum ratios of rice straw, molasses and starch (as sweet potato chips or other source) in rations for ruminants.