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Varying the dietary supply of C and N to manipulate the manure composition of water buffalo heifers in Oman
Optimizing the composition of manure has the potential to reduce nutrient losses to the environment and to increase crop yields. In this study the effect of dietary ratios of carbon (C) to nitrogen (N) and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) to soluble carbohydrates (SC) on faeces composition of water buffalo heifers was assessed. Two digestibility trials were conducted with 12 animals each, fed one control and four test diets composed to achieve (1) high C/N and high NDF/SC ratios (HH), (2) low C/N and low NDF/SC ratios (LL), (3) high C/N and low NDF/SC ratios (HL) and (4) low C/N and high NDF/SC (LH) ratios. Faecal C/N ratios were generally lower than dietary C/N ratios, but the reduction was especially large for high C/N ratio diets (HH=55 %, HL=51 %). Faecal N concentration was positively correlated (r^2 = 0.6; P < 0.001) with N intake, but the increase in faecal N was more pronounced for diets that supplied low amounts of N. Faecal NDF concentration was positively related to NDF intake (r^2 = 0.42; P < 0.001), as well as the faecal C/N ratio (r^2 = 0.3; P < 0.001). Results demonstrate that C/N ratio and NDF concentration of buffalo manure were affected by diet composition. Diets with high C/N ratio and low NDF/SC ratio are preferable with regard to manure quality, but may not satisfy the nutritional requirements of producing animals, since N concentration in these diets was low and fibre concentration simultaneously high.