Nutritional status of cattle grazing natural pasture in the Mid Rift Valley grasslands of Ethiopia measured using plant cuticular hydrocarbons and their isotope enrichment

M. Bezabih, W.F. Pellikaan, A. Tolera, N.A. Khan, W.H. Hendriks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The seasonal diet composition, digestibility and nutrient intake of cattle grazing on natural pasture in the Mid Rift valley region of Ethiopia were determined using an improved n-alkanes method. Sixteen local Borana and Arsi cattle (8 bulls and 8 heifers, 175±10 kg weight) were randomly selected from herds at two sites; a moderately grazed ranch and a heavily grazed, communal grassland area. Grazing behaviour was observed and herbage species consumed sampled during five periods (early-dry, dry, short-rainy, main-rainy and end-of-rainy seasons) throughout the year at the two grazing sites. During each period, animals were dosed twice daily with 152±4 mg of C32 and 150±3 mg C36 alkanes for 10 consecutive days, with faeces samples collected in the morning during the last five days to determine dry matter intake (DMI).The proportion of consumed herbage species in the diet was determined using n-alkanes and their carbon isotope enrichments as markers, while the energy and nutrient intakes were derived from the DMI, digestibility, and diet composition of the DM consumed. Marked seasonal variations (P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-52
JournalLivestock Science
Volume161
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • n-alkanes
  • diet selection
  • compensatory growth
  • southern ethiopia
  • mineral status
  • feed-intake
  • botanical composition
  • mammalian herbivores
  • tropical forages
  • detergent fiber

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