In recent years, in many regions of Ukraine and neighboring countries, the yield of traditional forage crops has significantly decreased due to the deterioration of soil quality and numerous droughts. For this reason, as well as in order to improve economic performance, domestic farmers and livestock breeders turned their attention to non-traditional crops and, in particular, to amaranth.
The history of using amaranth as animal feed goes back hundreds of years. Now the main forage varieties of amaranth are considered the crop with the highest nutritional value, among other non-traditional. For example, experiments conducted in the Voronezh region showed that amaranth green mass exceeds beet and carrot tops in protein and vitamin indicators by more than one and a half times (in particular, almost two times in lysine content). It is known that the silage from the tops of sugar and table beets, carrots, turnips in its chemical composition is one of the best protein and vitamin feed, contributing to the production of tender meat and high-quality dairy products.
Compared to corn, which has long been recognized by livestock breeders, the yield of amaranth is higher on average by 20–30% (in different regions) and is 600–900 centners / ha. The green weight of amaranth is 1.8 times more than that of corn, and 3 times more lysine, which makes amaranth silage not only more profitable in terms of productivity, but also more effective as a fodder crop.
Amaranth leaves contain all the amino acids essential for pets, both essential and irreplaceable. Moreover, the balance of amino acids is optimal, i.e. there is no “bias” in the direction of one or another chemical component. As a result, when converting cattle and pigs to silage, prepared exclusively from the green mass of amaranth, it will be possible to exclude any amino acid supplements from the animals ration.
Depending on the stage of development and on the variety of amaranth, the green mass of this plant contains the following elements:
- 18-25% dry matter;
- 3.0-3.9% crude protein;
- 0.5-0.65% lipids;
- 3.9-5.45% fiber;
- 0.46-0.535% calcium;
- 0.004-0.055% phosphorus;
- 40 mg carotene.
In terms of completely dry weight, chemicals are distributed as follows: crude protein in amaranth – 15.6-16.75%, fat – 2.4-2.8%, fiber – 16, -21.7%, calcium – 2, 1-2.6%, phosphorus – 0.2-0.21% and carotene – 160-200 mg. For comparison: the green mass of corn in the phase of milky-waxy ripeness of grain contains only 7.5-8% of protein, that is, 2 times less than amaranth.
The indicators that positively characterize amaranth as a culture suitable for the manufacture of high-quality and nutritious silage include the concentration of water-soluble sugars and pectin. Thus, depending on the variety and ripening stage, sugars are contained in amaranth leaves in the amount of 6.4-7.2%, and pectin in the amount of 9.5-11.3% (in dry weight).
Finally, it is worth taking into account the fact that the producers of pet food produce grass flour and pellets from the green mass of amaranth, which, in turn, are becoming more and more popular in domestic animal husbandry. Due to the high 28c2b6b5caf70cd11d8102a89d678609 preservation of nutrients in the dry mass of amaranth is considered one of the most suitable non-traditional cultures for the manufacture of this type of feed. Also, amaranth’s dry green mass is more resistant to external influences: for example, if you compare amaranth grass meal and grass grasses after several months, the amaranth product will contain approximately 1.2–1.3 times more vitamin content than flour. from forbs. The latter is the main reason that livestock farmers prefer to use flour and granules of herbs in the summer, combining this food with fresh green mass, and grass meal and grass granules from amaranth, in contrast, are purchased for the winter. On the successful use of flour from the green mass of amaranth and amaranth granules, we wrote in the material on amaranth feed.
All of the above made the livestock breeders pay attention to amaranth in the manufacture of silos, and as it turned out – not in vain.
Amaranth silage in the diet of pigs: theory and practice
Amaranth leaves on the protein content approaching the ideal protein, calculated, in particular, for sows and fattening piglets. According to the pig breeders in the Voronezh region, the inclusion of amaranth silage in the rations of two- and four-month-old piglets, repair pigs, 6967656 bales, pigs, and sows increased the productivity of all these animals by 12-18%. At the same time – from the point of view of the cost of feed – the consumption of the production of a unit of production when using amaranth silage as opposed to silage from beet and carrot tops decreased by 16-17%.
In the process of conducting experiments on the fattening of pigs with amaranth silage, considerable profitability and effectiveness of the use of this plant were repeatedly noted. For example, according to the research of A. Kh. Karayev (North Ossetia), the use of amaranth in the composition of diets of sows and repair gilts contributes to:
- the increase in sow multiplicity – by 14.2%;
- decrease in live weight loss of lactating sows – by 71%;
- increase in “milkiness” of sows – by 23.5%;
- increase the safety of piglets under the uterus – by 2.7%;
- improvement in the growth of suckling piglets – by 8.3%;
- an increase in the intensive growth of repair pigs – by 11.1%.
A. Kh. Karayev also notes that the use of amaranth silos leads to a decrease in costs in such quantities:
- 1 piglet – 5% of feed units;
- per 1 kg increase in live weight of pigs – by 5.9% of feed units.
Important! If amaranth was grown using fertilizers, nitrates can accumulate in the green mass, as well as salts of oxalic acid. In view of this, it is necessary to clarify with the manufacturers of the silo (when purchasing from outsiders) what exactly and in what quantity was used when cultivating the crop and to choose those varieties of amaranth for growing which do not require a large amount of fertilizer. For different regions, these are different varieties. The most stable and do not require recharge are considered to be the varieties “Kharkivsky-1 Medicinal” and “Giant”. Although, depending on the soil, these varieties may manifest themselves worse than others, therefore there is no universal “good and reliable” variety of amaranth.
With this in mind, when introducing an untested amaranth variety into the ration, free access of pigs to the silo should be restricted. It is also recommended to introduce silage from amaranth into the diet of animals gradually.
For slow training of animals to amaranth, it is best to use amaranth-corn silage in the ratio of 1: 1 (provided that corn silage was used for feeding earlier). Thus, the laying of corn in a mixture with amaranth increased the yield of digestible protein by 93.3% compared with the net sowing of corn. And during the ensiling of corn with amaranth in the budding phase at their ratio of 1: 1, the protein nutritional value of one fodder unit of the finished silage increased by 50% compared to the silage from corn alone.
It was established that amaranth-corn silage can replace up to 20% of concentrated feed in the rations of pigs without reducing their productivity.
Amaranth silage in the diet of cattle: successful experiments
Siloing of amaranth leaves and subsequent feeding of animals is also effective when breeding cattle.
Below are data on feeding dairy cows in the state farm “Kulaevsky” Pestrechinsky district of the Republic of Tatarstan. A control group of dairy cows was formed, fed with amaranth-corn silage. Other animals remained at the standard silage from traditional fodder crops adopted at the farm. According to the results of the experiment, it became clear that Korova-kushaet-travufat milk, as well as milk production, in the control group became higher.
Thus, the average daily yield of cows in the control group increased by 6%. The fat content of milk at the same time was higher by 0.1%. In terms of 4% milk, the productivity of cows in the control group increased by 8.6%.
The purpose of the experiment was also to determine the profitability of the silage with the inclusion of amaranth compared with other feeds. The result was positive: the use of amaranth-corn silage in the diet of the control group reduced the total feed consumption for this group for milk production. In particular, the cost of feed units per 1 kg of natural milk decreased by 8.8%. Also, to maintain the level of digestible protein, it took 5.7% less feed units of amaranth-corn silage compared to previous types of silage from traditional raw materials.
The chemical composition of the milk of the control group was not detected. Hematological studies were also performed, which showed insignificant changes in the content of total protein in the blood serum, which did not affect the final indicators. There were also no significant differences between the control and normal groups in the analysis of calcium, phosphorus, sugar, carotene and reserve alkali levels.
This led to the conclusion that the use of amaranth and amaranth-corn silage in the diet of dairy cows is more beneficial both in terms of productivity and in terms of feed costs.
Amaranth silage in the horses ration: justified innovation
Amaranth silage is rarely used for feeding horses, but the practice of Polish horse breeders shows that it is quite suitable for this. The experiment was conducted on two-year-old sardies. For 100 days in the daily ration of animals contained the following feed:
- 5 kg of oats;
- 15 kg of amaranth silage;
- 3.5 kg of hay;
- 2 kg of oat straw;
- standard mineral dressing.
At the same time, the rest of the animals were given 5 kg of oats, 8 kg of hay and 2 kg of oat straw with the same amount of mineral additives.
According to the results of the experiment, the stallions, who were also fed with amaranth silage, had the best condition, increased chest girth and total body weight.
Important! The researchers came to the conclusion that in order to increase the digestibility of the feed, amaranth silage should be introduced into the ration of horses gradually, i.e. in no case start with the 15 kg indicated. At first, the optimal amount of silage, according to horse breeders, is 6 kg, then the quantity is gradually increased to 12 kg. When it is obvious that the horse has successfully switched to a modified feed composition, the amount of amaranth silage in the daily ration can reach 20 kg.
Polish experimenters also note that feeding silage to horses turns out to be more efficient than feeding hay, as evidenced by the comparison of losses when laying silage and harvesting hay. More nutrients and vitamins are stored in the silage mass. When using silage from high-quality feed varieties of amaranth, the cost of mineral additives is slightly reduced.
In domestic horse breeding, feeding horses with silage, regardless of the raw materials used, is practiced less frequently. Apparently, this is due to cases of mortality after using poor-quality silage, incl. Sour or decomposed. Practice also shows that when buying silage from third parties it is better to cooperate with farmers who have been breeding amaranth for a long time and are aware of all the peculiarities of “their” variety.
Amaranth silage in the diet of other animals
Successful cases of feeding rabbits with amaranth silage are known, although research in this area has not been conducted. Traditionally, in the rabbit are used grass pellets from amaranth, which fully provides these animals with essential nutrients. Nevertheless, on one of the farms of the Rostov region, rabbits are successfully fed amaranth silage for four years.
Farmers, Sergey and Anna Nechayev, argue that in winter rabbits need no more feed than other animals. It was decided to use amaranth silage in this farm after a positive experience of using amaranth green mass granules: farmers decided to conduct an experiment using a different crop with negative consequences and chose one of the most reliable and well-known amaranth varieties in both Ukraine and southern Russia – Kharkiv-1. According to Anna Nechaeva at one of the forums for breeding rabbits, the introduction of amaranth silage into the diet passed without incident.
Proper Silo Laying
One of the main conditions for the successful use of amaranth silage is proper storage. When violations of the storage mode silage begins to mold, rot and sour.
Note! If in the first two cases – the occurrence of mold and rot – the unsuitability of the product becomes obvious, then farmers, especially beginners, may not recognize the sour silage immediately. This is sometimes used by unscrupulous manufacturers of silage, adding chalk to sour silage to eliminate acid. Nevertheless, a specific odor remains, therefore, when purchasing this feed, attention must also be paid to this aspect.
The suitability of amaranth silage by smell, by the way, is desirable to check after purchase or production. Amaranth silo, unlike many others, does not have a sharp odor, so the appearance of any foreign, strong, unusual flavors is a significant reason to worry about the safety of feed.
Silage pits can be different – depending on the design of the premises, the type of animals, etc. For example, dairy farms usually make trench type storages, pig farms they are also more common, and on the above-mentioned rabbit breeding farm for tabs amaranth silo used a pit with a circular cross section.
The requirement for all types of storage is the same: the walls and the bottom must be air- and waterproof. To achieve this goal, polymer films are used, and it is not recommended to save on them: through thin, even physically intact films (more precisely, through invisible pores in the structure of such films), microorganisms can penetrate which will make food unsuitable.
About half a meter of straw is placed on the bottom of the storage (it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that it was completely dry). Then put about 30 cm of silage. Above – another 40-50 cm of straw and so on. It is necessary to compact each layer of mass for at least 3 hours. Particular attention should be paid to the mass density at the bottom and near the walls of the store.
It is recommended to lay in such amount of amaranth silage, which is enough for no more than 2-3 days of feeding. In extreme cases, it is permissible to lay a silo for 4 days of feeding, but this should be done only with the possibility of high-quality sealing of the pit, as well as with good indicators of the level of humidity in the air.
After laying the silo in the pit, it must be tightened with a plastic foil and set the load on top. This may be peat (recommended layer thickness – 12-15 cm) or other analogues used in the economy. Special attention should be paid to the edges of the film, as well as to the topography of the surface: nowhere should there be any depressions in which water can accumulate.
Amaranth silo is one of the most profitable fodders for today, however, unfortunately, at the moment it is quite difficult to buy it because of the very small number of manufacturers. The easiest way to do it yourself, especially if there is a place for growing amaranth. About how to properly prepare amaranth silage, we will tell in the following materials.