Economic assessment of use of pulses in diets for captive red deer
¹Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Faculty of Economics and Social Development, 18 Svetes Street, LV-3001 Jelgava, Latvia
²Institute of Agricultural Resources and Economics, 2 Zinatnes street, Priekuli, Priekulu parish, LV-4130 Priekulu district, Latvia
The quality of compound feeds used in livestock diets could be enhanced by means of domestically produced pulses. Nevertheless, there are available few research studies that would allow us to identify the economic efficiency of livestock diets with pulses and the digestibility of protein by livestock for deer farming. Accordingly, the present research aims to identify the economic efficiency of diets supplemented with domestically produced pulses – faba beans, peas and lupine beans – for captive deer. The research conducted a feeding experiment on captive deer (Cervus elaphus) kept in fenced areas to identify the economic efficiency of diets supplemented with three legume species: peas (variety ‘Vitra’), faba beans (variety ‘Fuego’) and narrow-leaved lupin seeds (variety ‘Boregine’). Deer productivity was assessed by live weight, live weight gain, feed intake and protein efficiency ratio during the experimental period, as well as feed cost per live weight gain unit. The research found that feeding deer diets containing peas, faba beans and lupine beans as protein-rich feedstuffs was economically advantageous – at the same cost of feed, deer productivity increased and per-unit production costs decreased. Live weight gains during the experimental period were 1.02% higher in group 2 (pea diet), 1.78% higher in group 3 (faba bean diet) and 2.91% higher in group 4 (lupine diet) than in the control group. During the experimental period, the highest protein efficiency ratio was found in group 4 fed a diet containing lupine beans – a unit of protein fed (1 kg) yielded the highest weight gain or 0.43 kg. Feed costs per kg of live weight gain were the lowest in group 4 (2.32 EUR kg-1), 2.48 EUR kg-1 in group 3 and 2.70 EUR kg-1 in group 2, which was 20.56%, 14.81% and 7.39%, respectively, lower than those in the control group.