Nutritional values of available ruminant feed resources in smallholder dairy farms in Rwanda
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Smallholder dairy farmers in Rwanda use diversity of resources to cope with endemic feed shortages. However, there is inadequate real farm data to support farmer decisions on choices of options. The main objective of this study was to evaluate nutritional quality of feed types that farmers use in different agro-ecological zones of Rwanda. Samples of feed types were collected from 90 randomly selected households in the low- and mid-high-altitude zones of Rwanda and analysed for proximate composition, contents of metabolisable energy (ME), organic matter digestibility (OMD) and neutral detergent fibre digestibility (NDFd). Rumen fermentation characteristics and efficiency of energy utilisation were examined by determining partitioning factor (PF). Results showed that only five out of 24 feed types were common in both districts. Chemical composition, OMD, ME, NDFd and PF of these feed types differed significantly (P < 0.05) in their nutritional attributes. This suggests that a common feed composition table can be used as a component of the decision support tool for rational feed resource development and utilisation in the smallholder farms in the selected agro-ecologies of Rwanda.
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