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Rice straw and waste from pruning citric fruit trees are typically burned as waste but a new paper says those could feed ruminant animals. 

A team of researchers designed new diets for cows, sheep, goats, etc. from these agricultural sub-products which would help decrease burning.

Obviously it is not just rice straw and citrus leaves, but they were able to revalue those sub-products by mixing them in with other ingredients that ensure that all the nutritional needs of the animal are met. 

“The Low Carbon Feed diets have added rice straw and leaves from orange and lemon trees to the compound feed for ruminant animals. In other words, said waste has not been used as the source of the fodder, but it has been added as another ingredient to produce compound feed,” says professor Carlos Fernández, researcher at the Animal Science and Technology Institute of the Polytechnic University of Valencia and person responsible for this project. "The feeds can be used to feed any type of ruminant animal (bovine, ovine, goats, zebu, water buffalo, yaks, cervids, etc.) and even herbivores such as camelids (dromedaries, camels, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, etc.).

“It is also a proposal that complies with on of the principles of a sustainable agricultural-farming system: the three Rs – Reuse, Recycle and Reduce -, without harming or altering the productive level of the animals.” 

The work is framed in the European Low Carbon Feed project (LIFE16/CCM/ES/000088), headed by the Unió de Llauradors i Ramaders (Farmer Association).

Citation: C.Fernández, I.Pérez-Baena, J.V.Marti, J.L.Palomares, J.Jorro-Ripoll, J.V.Segarra. Use of orange leaves as a replacement for alfalfa in energy and nitrogen partitioning, methane emissions and milk performance of murciano-granadina goats. Animal Feed Science and Technology.

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