Ability of Buffalo to Digest Fermented Palm Leaves


Ability of Buffalo to Digest Fermented Palm Leaves

Palm oil plantations have a primary role in supporting the green plant supply for cattle and this supply can be composed of industrial and agricultural waste. For individual agriculture, the green plants that can be consumed as a food supply for the cattle include midribs and the palm leaves. Palm oil agricultural waste contains high amounts of crude fiber and processing is needed to improve the quality of the waste. Fermentation and aeration are applicable in improving the quality of agricultural waste as well as green plants that contains high amounts of crude fiber1.

Buffalos have a unique ability compare to ruminants and other herbivores. Their uniqueness can be seen in the habitats where they live, their morphological characteristics, anatomy, digestion physiology and their nutritional status. Both the digestion physiology and the capacity of buffalo’s stomachs show exceptional abilities and characteristics in digesting low-quality grass (low-protein plants and plants with high amounts of crude fiber). Buffalo also have an incredible pace of compensatory growth compared to cows2.

A new study was carried out in order to discuss the capability of buffalo to process palm oil waste, especially the palm leaves without sticks, that has been fermented and its relation to the increase in their weight. As palm oil plantations have plenty of palm leave stocks that can be used as the main forage, farmers can benefit from these surpluses. The study was designed to verify buffalo’s ability to digest fermented palm leaves to increase daily weight gain3.

The results indicated a daily weight gain for the buffalo of 0.89±0.33 kg/head/day. The feed consumed by buffalo was 18.9±0.74 kg/head/day. The research was initiated with an initial weight measurement of the buffalo of 354±36.68 kg/head and the final weight of the buffalo after the research was 380±41.11 kg/head.

The response to the diet is indicated by the buffalo’s ability to consume certain foods and is calculated by reducing the quota of the given food and replacing it with leftover food. The results show that the palatability exhibits no significant problems after feeding the buffalo with fermented palm leaves.

The level of consumption was determined from the total weight, while the increase in the consumption level is influenced by age. Previously it was indicated that the growth rate of a buffalo is determined by the age and that puberty indicates optimal growth. As the buffalo becomes an adult, the growth is decreased. In this research, the animals were approximately 18-27 months old, a time during which the buffalos were still growing.

The results implied that fermented palm leaves may increase the daily weight gain of buffalo and that this approach can be applied as a solution during droughts when green fodder is scarce. This research encouraged other parties to pay attention to buffalo fodder and its relation to weight gain. However, the research may have weaknesses, as farmers have limited knowledge about palm leaf fermentation processes and procedures and thus, supervision is needed.


  1. Hasan, A., 1993. Oil palm frond silage as a roughage source for milk production in Sahiwal Friesian cows. Proceedings of the 16th Malaysian Society of Animal Production, June 8-9, 1993, Langkawi, Malaysia, pp: 34-35.
  2. Moran, J.B., 1985. Comparative performance of five genotypes of Indonesian large ruminants. 1. Effect of dietary quality on live weight and feed utilization. J. Agric. Res., 36: 743-752.
  3. Harly, R., Siswati, L. and Mulyani, S., 2018. Response to Palm Plantation Waste Fermentation as Forage and its Relation to the Increase in Buffalo Weight Gain. J. Nutr., 17: 661-665.