This study was conducted to evaluate feeding value of berseem and lucerne silage as a replacement for conventional fodder (berseem fodder) in lactating Nili buffaloes. Fifteen early lactating multi-parous Nili buffaloes, five buffaloes in each group were allotted three experimental diets. Berseem and lucerne fodders were ensiled at 30% DM (wheat straw was used to adjust the DM of fodders) with molasses (at the rate of 2% of fodder DM) in two bunker silos for 30 days. The diets contained 75% DM from berseem fodder (BF), 75% DM from berseem silage (BS) and 75% DM from lucerne silage (LS). Each diet contained 25% concentrate DM. Diets were mixed daily and fed twice a day at ad libitum intakes. Dry matter intake (DMI) was significantly higher (13.8 kg/d) in buffaloes fed BF diet than those fed LS (12.5 kg/d) and BS (11.9 kg/day) diets. The differences in digestible DMI and DMI as percent body weight were significant between fodder and silage based diets but non-significant when BS and LS were compared. Lower DMI with silage-based diets was probably because of low silage pH. Intake of NDF (NDFI) was higher (5.68 kg/d) in buffaloes fed BF diet followed by those fed LS (5.50 kg/d) and BS (5.00 kg/d) diets. The difference was significant (p<0.05) across fodder and silage based diets but NDFI was non-significant across both silage-based diets. The apparent DM digestibility was significantly different (p<0.05) between fodder and silage-based diets but was non-significant between LS and BS diets. Four percent fat corrected milk yield was significantly different (p<0.05) between fodder and silage-based diets but was non-significant between LS and BS diets. Higher milk yield with fodder based diet was because of more digestible nutrient intake (Table 3) compared with silage based diets. Milk CP, TP and NPN and SNF did not show any treatment effects. The present results indicated that the berseem and lucerne fodder ensiled at 30% DM level with 2% molasses could safely replace (75% DM) the conventional leguminous fodder in the diets of lactating Nili buffaloes.
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