Nutritional Evaluation of Hydroponic Corn Fodder and its Effect as Substitute for Feed Concentrates for Buffalo Calves
Charity I. Castillo, Phoebe Lyndia T. Llantada, Cyril P. Baltazar, Mary Rose D. Uy-De Guia, Reynald D. Amido and Arnel N. Del Barrio
Received: January 26, 2023/ Revised: June 22, 2023/ Accepted: August 11, 2023
This study investigated the effects of hydroponic corn fodder on the growth performance of buffalo calves. Twelve Bulgarian Murrah buffalo calves were divided into two treatment groups: T1, fed with Napier grass and starter feed concentrates, and T2, fed with Napier grass, starter feed concentrates, and hydroponic corn fodder, replacing 50% of the starter feed concentrate. The study found no significant differences between the two groups' average total weight gain and average daily gain. However, the average daily feed intake was significantly higher in T2, possibly due to the tender and young nature of the hydroponic corn fodder. Dry matter and crude protein intake did not show any significant differences between the two groups. The digestibility of nutrients showed a significant difference in dry matter digestibility between T1 and T2. Feed cost per d was significantly lower in T1, but the cost of feed per kg gain was lower in T2. This study suggested that supplementing buffalo calves' diets with hydroponic corn fodder could have a beneficial effect on their growth performance and economic viability. It recommends further research on the use of other grains as fodder for ruminants. Overall, this study highlighted the potential of hydroponic corn production as a sustainable source of fodder for ruminants.