ISSN: 1659-2751



Elaboration of a Low-cost Feed Supplement for Tropical Dairy Cattle using African Palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) Silage


Due to the continuing increase in the global production of African palm oil (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.), and as a result, a constant increase in harvested area, and also the limited marketing options that exist nowadays for the oil palm fruit, principally extraction plants, it is very important to develop oil palm fruit products that use a simpler process requiring less infrastructure. This would support the independence of the small oil palm producer, open wider markets for these producers, and lead to price standardization. In the present project, a high fat, feed supplement was elaborated for dairy production ruminants. The supplement can be produced easily by the small rural farmer and also can be stored for long periods of time. The supplement of oil palm fruit was produced in the form of silage. The fruit was ground and coated with a mixture of molasses, phosphoric acid, yeast and lactic bacteria that contributed to the fermentation of the product. The mixture was compacted inside a hermetically sealed, 200 L tank, for eight days. At that time, and every week for three weeks, the supplement was sampled and the composite of the samples was analyzed to determine the toxicology and the characteristics of the silage process. The nutritional characteristics, on a dry matter basis, of the product included 54.9 % ether extract, 3.6 % crude protein (CP), 18.3 % crude fiber (CF), 41.5 % neutral detergent fiber (NDF), 28 % acid detergent fiber (ADF) and 63.8 % in vitro digestibility. Also, a group of five heifers with herd-representative characteristics (three ½ Bos indicus x ½ Bos taurus and two Bos indicus) with an average of five months old were selected for a palatability evaluation during a 30-day observation period and the animals showed no apparent problem caused by the inclusion of the supplement in their diet. The product maintained its properties during the 30 day trial time. On the toxicological analysis of the sample of the superficial layer infested by fungus, only Coletotrichum spp. spores were found which are harmless to ruminants.

Key words: dairy cattle, Latin American, palm oil, dietary supplement, humid tropics.

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