Paper-fed cows?

Paper-fed cows?

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The 100 tons of paper waste that a company leaves a day could become a feeding alternative for dairy cows in Ubaté, according to a scientific proposal. However, it is not that the entire ration is paper waste. In fact, it is an option that will only involve 15% of the food, since the remaining 85% will continue to be conventional food.

The project will start with a dozen sheep from the same region (Ubaté), given that, as small ruminants, although on a lower scale, they have the same metabolism as livestock. That is the bet of the zootechnician of the National University, George Jaime Tenjo, to attack two problems in the region; the first, to prevent these residues from becoming pollutants, and second, that part of the paper becomes ration for cattle, ideal in "times of lean cows" due to lack of food for the livestock of small and medium producers.

The lack of rainfall during certain frequencies of time affects the absence of forage or pasture to feed livestock. Since paper waste has a cellulose component, which is also part in a proportion of that of grasslands, this can be replaced in livestock nutrition.

With this project, whose investment is close to 64 million pesos, half of which is exclusively destined to materials and supplies, it is expected that about 300 producers in the Ubaté region will have inputs to counteract the effects of lack of food. , when the climatic situation so determines.

Historically, work on cellulosic waste, such as paper, has focused on the production of biofuels, and in this sense the academic review has been developed.

However, the intestinal microflora found in the rumen of sheep and cattle has the ability to degrade cellulose, a component present in both grass and paper. "A series of bacteria that act on the substrate, in this case cellulose, are conjugated to carry out fermentation and give energy to the animal", explains the zootechnician, candidate for a master's degree in Animal Production at the U.N.

According to George Jaime Tenjo, the precipitation deficit, which produced a shortage of forage or pasture, showed that small producers in this renowned dairy basin are not prepared for such contingencies.

And while the use of silage (a method of keeping grass or dry grass green) or planting materials that protect against drought are alternatives, these may be insufficient in case of lack of feed for livestock.

In general terms, Ubaté does not have a great availability of water throughout the year. With the El Niño phenomenon, which occurs every three to seven years, this problem can be accentuated.

If small and medium-sized producers are not prepared for a new phenomenon, “they can face serious problems: death of animals, having to sell them because they don't have to feed them, and those who have a little material are probably not going to reach enough the productions that they should normally have ”, says the expert.


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