DON RESTATES PLACE OF NUTRITION IN LIVESTOCK FARMING
Scientists have been charged to undertake researches geared towards improving livestock production technologies that would facilitate attainment of food security in the country.
Vice Chancellor, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Professor Francis Otunta stated this during the 45th Inaugural lecture of the university entitled: “Be Fruitful And Multiply, Fill The Earth,” delivered by Rev. Sister Mary Anthony Oguike, a Professor of Animal Physiology in the university.
Prof. Oguike in her lecture stated that among the factors affecting livestock/animal reproduction, such as nutrition, genetics, disease, physical environment and management, the place of nutrition is key.
She stressed the nutritional impacts of Aspilia Africana plant, also known as African Marigold or Wild Sunflower, Xylopia aethiopica (Ethiopian Pepper), Saccaharomyces cerevisiae (Yeast) and Curcuma longa (turmeric) on semen characteristics and testicular histology of rabbit bucks and rams.
She said the African Marigold plant is grazed by animals in Nigeria and is also used as feed for sheep, goat, rabbit and hares.
According to the Inaugural Lecturer, animal reproduction is the bedrock for sustainable livestock production and productivity, saying although animal nutrition, breeding and genetics are also important aspects of animal production “all these are required to work together in order to meet our national target of food security.”
She consequently recommended that animal scientists and animal producing farmers should ensure that animals are maintained on feed materials that improve their reproductive performance and efficiency, as well as enhance the attainment of their genetic potentials.
The Don added that while Aspilia Africana ought not be fed to animals meant for breeding, it could be used for fattening farm animals, noting that the Nigeria Institute of Animal Scientists (NIAS) should develop Extension Programs between livestock researchers and livestock farmers to ensure that research findings do not end on the shelves of university libraries, just as she further recommended that more researches need to be conducted on improved livestock production technologies.