Low quality roughages, the main stay of livestock feeding system in Pakistan, require supplementation with concentrate sources of protein, energy and minerals to obtain desirable livestock production. Majority of conventional concentrate supplements for livestock are expensive as they compete with poultry and humans. Therefore, supplementation with non-conventional concentrates became inevitable. Molasses is abundantly available in Pakistan and is cheapest source of energy. Molasses with other feed ingredients and non-protein nitrogen source like urea can be solidified into blocks. However, manual mixing of the ingredients and their solidification as blocks requires lot of labour and heating which makes these blocks expensive. Alternatively, solidification of blocks with heating can be replaced with mechanical force.
To make the blocks through mechanical process, NARC scientists have developed a mechanical based technology by using electric motor driven mixer and hydraulic press for preparation of Multi-nutrient Blocks. A prototype semi-automatic plant was designed and developed to prepare these multi-nutrient blocks. These blocks are nutritionally balanced and regulate the feed intake by the animals. Nation wide usage of multi-nutrient blocks strongly demonstrated its cost effectiveness among the livestock farming community. Multi-nutrient blocks were produced and supplied to livestock farming community in Pothwar, Thal, NWPF, Balochistan, AJK, Northern Areas and Afghanistan.
Multi-nutrient blocks can be kept in manger or feeding trough along with other feed resources i.e., wheat straw and green fodders. Feeding of feed blocks should be started in small quantity and thereafter provided on ad-libitum basis to the animal along with other available feedstuffs. Multi-nutrient blocks improved the utilization of roughage, minimized urea toxicity, improved animal production and enhanced the income of livestock farmers. This technology is successfully developed and disseminated to feed milling industry for commercial production. Private sector has now started production of multi nutrient blocks. PARC multi-nutrient blocks assisted the farmers to generate additional income.
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Mirza, I. H., A. G. Khan, A. Azim and M. A. Mirza. (2002). Effect of supplementing cattle calves with urea molasses blocks with and without yucca schidigera extract on performance and carcass traits. Asian Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 15(7). 1300-1306.