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Microwave and Radio-Frequency Technologies in Agriculture by Peter Farrell, Mohan V. Jacob, Graham Brodie

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20 Treatment of Animal Fodder

Various methods of improving the digestibility of hay and straw have been considered. Commonly used methods include urea and alkali treatments. Urea treatment increases cellulose and hemicellulose availability during rumen digestion. In a study by Kutlu et al. (2000), wheat straw samples were analysed for dry matter digestibility in the rumen of sheep, using nylon bags (in situ). They found that supplementing the straw with 2% urea, increased digestibility by about 19 % compared with untreated straw. Alkali treatment with NaOH or alkaline H2O2 can also significantly improve the digestibility of straw (Chaudhry 2000); however these methods can be expensive, hazardous, can lead to unwanted environmental effects such ...

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