Processing of roughage
Roughages constitute the bulk of the ration of farm animals and these include green fodder (leguminous and non-leguminous), grasses, and various crop residues such as straws of wheat, paddy, ragi, barley and stalks of jowar, maize and bajra. Some green crop residues such as sugarcane tops and certain unconventional crop residues such as bagasse, sunflower heads are also used during the scarcity of conventional crop residues and green fodders. Long stemmed green fodders are normally chopped before feeding but succulent fodders (mainly leguminous) are used after wilting or offered in combination with dry crop residues to avoid the risk of bloat.
Major difficulty for the efficient use of crop residues by ruminants is that as the level of dietary concentrate increases, the intake of roughage decreases besides depressing the cell wall digestion. These factors tend to reduce the amount of available digestible energy to the animal from the roughage sources. Crop residues may be processed by any of the following methods to improve their nutritional value.