Chemical Composition and Feeding Value of Chopped Date Fronds (CDF) as Affected by Urea and Date Syrup Extract Treatment

  • El Hag, M.G. (Rumais Livestock Research Station, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries) ;
  • El Shargi, K.M. (Rumais Livestock Research Station, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries)
  • Received : 1997.07.14
  • Accepted : 1998.05.19
  • Published : 1998.12.01


In the first of two experiments, chemical composition (Ash, CP and CF contents), nutritive value (in vitro organic matter disappearance "lVOMD" and energy content "ME") and nitrogen retention of chopped date fronds (CDF) as affected by chemical treatment (CT) and storage duration (SD) were investigated. The experimental design was a completely randomized block, arranged in a $3{\times}4$ factorial, with 3 (CT) and 4 (SD) as the main factors using 2 replications / treatment. Three chemical treatments, were used : Control (With zero or no chemical treatment); treatment with 4% urea solution (w /w) and treatment with 4% urea + Date syrup extract (DS). The 4 (SD) were: Control (immediately after opening - without any storage or zero time storage); one month storage period; two months storage period and three months storage period. Both (CT) and (SD) had significant effects (p < 0.05) on CP and ash contents of the CDF, however there were no significant effects (p > 0.05) due to (CT) and (SD) on CF and nutritive value. High retention value (> 80%) for nitrogen was reported for the treated CDF, immediately after opening the incubated material (zero SD). However, nitrogen retention decreased with increasing (SD) to 67% after one month (SD) but tended to stay at a fairly constant level of 67% until 3 months of storage. In experiment 2, the feeding value of treated CDF was evaluated in comparison to Rhodes grass hay, using growing goats and sheep. A $4{\times}2$ factorial design was used (Four roughage sources were used : Rhodes grass hay, untreated CDF, urea-treated CDF and CDF treated with urea + DS with sheep and goats as two animal species, using three animals / treatment). Untreated CDF had a similar feeding value to Rhodes grass hay. However treatment of CDF with urea alone or with urea + DS depressed animal performance of both goats and sheep, apparently due to depression of feed intake (appetite). Feeding untreated CDF decreased feeding cost by 29% and cost/kg gain by 23%. CDF showed a good potential as a cheap local roughage and emergency feed for ruminants in the Sultanate.


Chemical Composition;Feeding Value;Chopped date Fronds;Rhodes Grass;Urea;Date Syrup Extract