Paddy straw as cattle feedDate: 12 October 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
The Punjab government has floated a proposal to use paddy straw as feed for animals, especially cattle.
Majority of left-over paddy straw is wasted by burning them. They not only become waste but also cause air pollution.
A project report has been readied by the government and has been titled ‘Preparation for the control of stubble burning during Kharif season 2021’.
The report cites the case of countries such as China, Mongolia and Southeast Asia where nearly 30.4 per cent of rice straw is used for animal feed.
The economic impact of stubble burning
Punjab produces about 20 million tones of paddy straws per annum. The value of such straw is about Rs 400 crore.
By burning these straws, the state is losing a major source of revenue in addition to loss of 77,000 tonnes of nitrogen and 5.6 million tonnes of Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN).
The consumption of paddy straw
Paddy straw is made up of high amounts of silica and lignin, which reduces its digestive properties.
Higher selenium content also plays a role in limiting use of paddy straw as fodder in comparison to wheat straws. Moderate quantities do not cause any problems.
There is also presence of oxalates (2-2.5%) in straws, which leads to calcium deficiency. Minerals should be added along with the feed. It can cause serious health problems in dairy animals.
Urea-only treatment and urea plus molasses treatment has to be carried out for paddy straw before using it as cattle fodder.
Studies have shown that TDN values in urea treated paddy straw increased tremendously as compared to untreated straw.
Urea plus molasses treatment
The technique involves treating paddy straw with urea and molasses. This is mixed with chaffed paddy straw and fed to animals on same day.