The Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) - Production and Research

Feed Resources, Rumen Fermentation, Manipulation and Production in Swamp Buffalo: A Review

Author(s): Metha Wanapat, V. Chanthakhoun, R. Pilajun and P. Khejornsart

Pp: 145-179 (35)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681084176117010009

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Swamp buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) are multipurposes and resourceful animals in agriculture of incredible importance among farmers. Within a smallholding farming system, typical of many Asian countries, seasonal feed resources used on swamp buffaloes, are of paramount importance for an efficient production. In fact, during the dry season, when conventional feed resources are usually scarce, their contribution is incredibly relevant. In addition, the utilization of such feed resources may represent an efficient way to reduce methane production through better use of secondary compounds in tropical plants and herbs (tannins, saponins, etc.), and consequently improve the overall rumen ecology and finally buffalo productivity. Currently, the development of food-feed systems (FFS) have been successfully implemented and therefore should be fully integrated into the ordinary use by smallholder farmers. However, in order to improve and make more efficient feeding methodologies, both treatments and/or supplementations should be considered, such as the development of simple and practical feeding and the use of concentrate mixtures based on on-farm resources (home-made concentrates, HMC) in order to reduce production costs and enhance profitability and sustainability of the buffalo production. The manipulation of rumen fermentation by treating roughage and/or by supplementing the available feed resources with plants characterized by high quality feed block, tannin/ saponins, especially cassava hay and other local feed resources, could improve rumen efficiency by maintaining a constant higher pH, optimum NH3-N, and increasing microbial protein synthesis and essential VFAs, and therefore enhancing ruminant productivity in the tropics. Moreover, buffaloes have been shown to be more efficient in feeds utilization, when compared to cattle. Lately, the application of molecular technology to rumen studies, such as the use of PCR-DGGE and real-time PCR, has been instrumental in offering a wide range of information and data on rumen microbial diversity and the likelihood of a possible functional role in reducing rumen methane as well as enhancing productivity in swamp buffaloes.

Keywords: Buffaloes, Feed resources, Feeding, Integrated livestock system, Methane production, Rumen ecology manipulation.

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