Feeding is a fundamental aspect in livestock production. In order to improve meat production levels in Nigeria, energy inputs such as concentrate feeds have to be considered essential for any livestock enterprise.
As such, feed resources that could be used to improve livestock production in Nigeria according to Mr Ishaya Usman Gadzama, a breeder/ nutritionist at the Dairy Research Programme of National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI), Shika, Zaria include;
-High fibre-low protein feeds which are fibrous residues such as straws and stovers from rice, maize, millet and sorghum, and sugarcane bagasse. Treatment with chemical such as urea has been shown to enhance their utilisation for better animals’ performance.
•High fibre-high protein feeds include by-products derived from crop production e.g. tops and haulms of groundnut, sweet potato vine, cassava leaves and beans straw and then industrial processing by-products like rice bran, wheat and maize bran and brewer’s dried grain. It also includes leaves from tree legumes and browse plants such as Glyricidia andLeucaena.
•Low fibre-low protein feeds are derived from crops grown for renewable energy. They are generally rich in energy and low in protein content e.g. molasses, oil palm juice, cassava waste and fruit processing industry waste.
•Low fibre-high protein feeds otherwise known as concentrates include oil-seed meals and cakes such as coconut cake, soybean meal, cotton seed cake and groundnut meal.
•Animal by-products such as fishmeal, blood meal and poultry litter also fall into this category. They are valuable sources of good quality protein for both ruminant and non-ruminant animals.
•Fishmeal is often used for balancing the amino acid content in monogastric feeds, while in ruminants, it provides a high proportion of rumen non-degradable protein acting as a reservoir of amino acids for high levels of production.
•Supplementation with locally available feed resources and agro-industrial by-products will enhance animal productivity and reduce cost of livestock production in Nigeria.