Livestock nutrition is a key determinant of livestock productivity contributing to not less than 60% of the cost of production livestock commodities. To be able to meet their productivity potential, it is important that animals are fed according to their daily nutritional requirements based on the production objectives and their physiological status. Nutritional deficiencies characterized by low nutrient contents for energy, protein and minerals; low digestibility and high water content of forages, results in reduced growth performance, lowered resistance to diseases and eventually reduced animal productivity. Therefore, efforts directed towards improving feed utilization efficiency consequently result in enhanced farm productivity and economic returns.
Our research programs are hence geared towards tackling the inherent inadequacy and seasonal fluctuation in quantity and quality of conventional feed resources. Our efforts result into formulation of safe, low cost and nutritious rations for year-round feeding for the major livestock enterprises. To achieve this objective, NaLIRRI is currently developing nutritious Total Mixed Rations (TMRs) harnessed from non-conventional feed resources so as to correct the nutrient deficiencies in feeding systems. In addition, research on formulating and evaluating various feed supplements has been going on to further tackle challenges of utilization of low quality and potentially inefficient feed resources commonly used by farmers. We are also engaged in screening and optimizing pre-treatment biological factors that can be used to improve the feeding value of low quality feed resources by enhancing their palatability and nutrient content.
All NaLIRRI’s research efforts therefore focus on bridging the nutrient deficiency gap, conserving year-round farm feeds and improving the efficiency of utilization of local feed resources. This is being achieved by availing farmers with cost-effective balanced rations and overcoming seasonal feed shortages through using both locally available and improving access to and adoption of commercially supplied feed resources. It is anticipated that these interventions will result in improved on-farm utilization of feed resources for enhanced farm productivity, higher incomes of all chain partners, increased domestic supply and eventual export of livestock commodities.