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Title of Thesis

Evaluation of Saltbush (Atriplex Amnicola) As Dietary Forage for Nili-Ravi Buffalo Heifers and Kajli Lambs

Jalees Ahmad Bhatti

Institute/University/Department Details

Faculty of Animal Husbandry Department of Poultry Science University of Agriculture, Faisalabad


Animal Husbandry

Number of Pages
Keywords (Extracted from title, table of contents and abstract of thesis)
Saltbush, atriplex amnicola, dietary, forage, nili-ravi, buffalo, hiefers, kajli lambs

Livestock production in Pakistan is contributing almost 50 % to the value addition in the agriculture sector and 11 % to GDP, which is higher than the contribution made by the crop sector. Animal production is badly affected by shortage of feed resources. Forages are an important source of animal feed and constitute nearly 70 % of the total cost of livestock production. The area under fodder production (14 %) is hardly able to produce 58 million tones of fodder which is not sufficient even to meet the maintenance of the existing livestock. The salinity and water logging are the major factors in deteriorating the soil and further dwindling resources. Atriplex species are tolerant to cold and heat stress and have great potential to increase the productivity of salt-affected land. Saltbush can be used as an alternate feed for large and small ruminants in the salinity affected areas. To exploit the potential feeding value of Saltbush, three experiments were conducted to use Saltbush (Atriplex amnicola) as dietary forage for Nili-Ravi buffalo heifers and Kajli lambs at Livestock Experiment Station, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan. Nili-Ravi buffalo heifers feeding management trial (Experiment 1) was conducted to determine the effect of conventional fodder substitution with saltbush during different seasons. Fifteen buffalo heifers (1202 kg) were divided into five groups, three each according to Latin Square Design fed on different treatments (T) designated as T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5 having Mott (Pennisetum purpurium), Berseem (Trifolium alexandrinum), Mott+Saltbush, Berseem+Saltbush and Mott+Berseem+Saltbush, respectively. Mean maximum temperature during different periods (P) designated as P1, P2, P3, P4 and P5 was 20.761.75, 22.621.75, 24.511.75, 37.671.75 and 40.981.75˚C, respectively. Crude protein contents were higher in Berseem followed by T4 and T5. Lowest crude protein was during summer and higher during mild season and winter. Ether Extract was higher in diets having Berseem and Berseem+Saltbush than other treatments and also higher during mild season than severe summer and winter. Ash contents were higher in saltbush substituted diets and also during summer season. DMI was higher during mild season and was highest in heifers on Berseem and Berseem+Saltbush diet. Daily water intake was comparatively higher in heifers on saltbush substituted diets and also increased during summer season. Highest daily weight gain was observed on Berseem alone and heifers on Saltbush combination diets also gained more than on Mott grass. Weight gain was lower during winter as compared to spring and summer. Statistically significant difference in DM (P<0.05), CP, CF, EE, Ash and NFE (P<0.01), DMI, water intake and weight gain (P<0.01), DMD and OMD (P<0.05), RBCs, WBCs, Hemoglobin and PCV (P<0.05) was observed between treatments and periods. Saltbush substituted diets showed better DMD and OMD and also changes were observed in RBCs, WBCs, Hemoglobin and PCV between treatments and periods. The Nili-Ravi buffalo heifers showed comparable intake and gain on diets having inclusion of Saltbush with conventional fodders especially performed better on Berseem+Saltbush diets during winter season. Performance of heifers was also better on xviii

saltbush combination diets having Mott+Saltbush and Berseem+Mott+Saltbush in the diets during summer season. Therefore, the growth performance of Nili-Ravi buffalo heifers can be improved by using Saltbush leaves and twigs in fresh form as part of conventional fodders up to 50 % during different seasons. Saltbush can be incorporated in the conventional diets of heifers to maintain daily intake and growth performance during feed gaps. Saltbush can be used as an alternate forage source when conventional fodders are short and their nutrient contents are less during severe winter and summer seasons. The continuous supply of better feed to such neglected animals raised in saline areas can be maintained to achieve early growth and sexual maturity.

Lucerne hay nitrogen replacement trial (Experiment 2) was conducted to substitute the Lucerne hay nitrogen with different levels of saltbush and urea nitrogen on 30 Kajli lambs divided into five groups of six lambs each using CRD (5x6) fed for ten (10) weeks on 70% Lucerne hay and 30% wheat straw (T1), urea nitrogen replaced 20% T1 nitrogen, urea nitrogen replaced 30% T1 nitrogen, Saltbush nitrogen replaced 20% T1 nitrogen and saltbush nitrogen replaced 30% T1 nitrogen designated as T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5, respectively. Crude protein contents were higher in saltbush diets as compared to T1 (15.50.214 %) and T2 and T3, respectively. Crude fiber contents were 26.250.55, 31.000.55, 32.750.55, 27.000.55 and 27.500.55 % on T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5, and EE contents were 2.75.194, 3.00.194, 2.75.194, 3.00.194 and 3.25.194, respectively. Ash contents in T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5 were 8.50.295, 11.00.295, 11.75.295, 11.25.295 and 14.25.295 % and Differences in dry matter (P<0.01) Crude fiber (P<0.01) Ash (P<0.01) and NFE (P<0.09) contents were significant and crude protein (P<0.290) and Ether Extract (P<0.364) were non-significant between treatments. DMI was 0.970.05, 0.910.05, 0.870.05, 1.020.05 and 0.920.05 kg on T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5, respectively. Daily water intake was comparatively higher (2.471.07 and 2.601.07 liters) on saltbush diets than control and urea nitrogen diets. Higher (0.0490.01 kg) daily weight gain on T4 than T1 (0.0440.01 kg) was observed. Significant difference in DMI (P<0.05), water intake (P<0.01) and weight gain (P<0.05) was observed between treatments. DMD and OMD was higher on saltbush included diets than control and urea substituted diets and significant OMD (P<0.01). Significant (P<0.01) difference in RBCs, WBCs, Hemoglobin and PCV was observed between treatments. The findings of the experiment indicated that the lambs fed on saltbush included diets and urea nitrogen diets showed comparatively better intake, gained more and also the digestibility values were comparable to control fed on Lucerne hay based diets. The blood hematology values also indicated significant differences between treatments. Dried saltbush leaves and twigs can suitably incorporated upto 30 % of the diet nitrogen in the conventional hay based diets to increase the nutrient level of the diet especially during drought and feed shortage periods when no alternate feeds are available in the saline areas.

Lucerne hay based TMR trial (Experiment 3) was conducted to substitute the Lucerne hay based TMR with different levels of saltbush on 12 Kajli lambs divided into three groups of four lambs each using CRD (3x4). The lambs were fed for 35 days on TMR diet designated as T1 (CGM 20.5, Lucerne hay 60, Molasses 18 and mineral mixture 1.5 %), T2 (Saltbush hay replaced 30 % Lucerne hay of T1) and T3 (Saltbush hay replaced xix

45 % Lucerne hay of T1), respectively. CP was 16.25.144, 16.00.144 and 15.00.144 %, respectively. Significant DM (P<0.019), CP (P<0.01) differences were observed between treatments. CF was highest (16.75.417 %) in T3 diet having 45 % saltbush included ration followed by T2 (15.25.417 %) and T1 (14.25.417 %). Highly significant CF (P<0.01) and non significant EE (P<0.311) difference was noted between treatments. Ash contents were highest (13.75.264 %) in T3 followed by T2 (12.75.264 %) and T1 (10.50.264 %). Significant Ash (P<0.01) and non significant NFE (P<0.43) difference was observed among treatments. Daily DMI in Kajli lambs was 0.9300.025, 0.842.025 and 0.902.025 kg in T1, T2 and T3, respectively. Daily water intake was 3.4340.148, 3.1350.148, 4.0090.148 on T1, T2 and T3, respectively. Highest (72.618.2 g) daily weight gain was recorded on T3 followed by T1 (46.418.2 g) and T2 (36.318.2 g), respectively. Significant DMI (P<0.045) water intake (P<0.01) and weight gain (P<0.34) was non-significant between treatments. DMD and OMD in lambs was lower on T3 having 45 % saltbush than control (T1) and DMD (P<0.34) and OMD (P<0.06) differences were among treatments. Differences between treatments in blood hematology were non significant. The results indicated that the DM and CP contents were similar in saltbush diets and Lucerne hay based TMR. The lambs on saltbush included diets also showed similar DMD and OMD digestibility. It is concluded that Kajli lambs on TMR diets performed equally good on saltbush substituted diets and can be fed on TMR in the form of complete diet pellets or mash having upto 45 % saltbush inclusion as leaf meal protein.

Buffalo heifers and small ruminant needs special attention in the saline areas during drought spells to maintain their performance. This is only possible if alternate feed resources like saltbush is given due importance while propagation, harvesting/lopping, procurement and utilization in different combinations and forms with conventional feeds and forages. The best way to use this potential shrub (saltbush) is only to dry the leaves and soft twigs and use upto 45 % in the conventional diets on dry matter basis. It will be more appropriate to have complete formulated diets (TMR) in the form of pellets or thoroughly mixed mash diets.

It was also observed that saltbush value can be further improved if some soaking or processing is devised to minimize the salt contents from the leaves and twigs before feeding to the animals, this will improve the nutrients and palatability. So the dried saltbush leaves are having greater scope to be used as part of conventional browse, stall diets and Total Mixed Rations in the saline areas especially along with other grain or energy sources. It can also be produced and used as an emergency feed to be used during severe seasons and drought spells to maintain the livestock condition score. It was further observed that more precise investigations are needed on improved agronomic practices to increase the quality and production of forage bio-mass per unit area, possibility of involving commercial entrepreneurs for formula feed production and utilization, studies on economic feasibility of saltbush feed production through farmer cooperatives, production and feeding management economics under different farming conditions and screening of blood metabolites including mineral profile in different species of animals and on different feeding levels.

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S. No. Chapter Title of the Chapters Page Size (KB)


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2.1 Feed Composition

2.2 Dry Matter Intake

2.3 Water Intake

2.4 Weight Gain

2.5 Digestibility

2.6 Blood Hematology  

29 KB

3.1 Propagation of Forage Biomass

3.2 Feed Analyses

3.3 Digestibility

3.4 Blood Hematology

3.5 Data Analyses

544 KB


4.1 Introduction

4.2 Materials and Methods

4.3 Results and Discussion

4.4 Conclusions

741 KB


5.1 Introduction

5.2 Materials and Methods

5.3 Results and Discussion

5.4 Conclusions

433 KB


6.1 Introduction

6.2 Materials and Methods

6.3 Results and Discussion

6.4 Conclusions

490 KB
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