Daily and alternate day supplementation of urea or soybean meal to ruminants consuming low-quality cool-season forage: II. Effects on ruminal fermentation
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Five ruminally cannulated steers (initial BW=464±26kg) consuming low-quality forage (5% CP; 78% NDF; DM basis) were used in an incomplete 5×4 Latin square with four 18-d periods to determine the influence of supplemental N source and supplementation frequency (SF) on ruminal fermentation dynamics. Treatments, arranged as a 2×2 factorial with a negative control, consisted of urea or soybean meal (SBM) supplements offered daily (D) or alternate days (2D) plus an unsupplemented treatment (CON). Urea supplements were provided to meet 100% of the degradable intake protein requirement while SBM supplements were provided on an isonitrogenous basis. All supplemented treatments received an equal quantity of supplemental N over a 2-d period. Ruminal indigestible acid detergent fiber (IADF) passage rate was increased with supplementation (P≤0.03) on the days when D and 2D supplements were provided, as well as when only D supplements were provided. In contrast, ruminal liquid fill and dilution rate were not affected by supplementation, N source, or SF on the days when D and 2D supplements were provided (P≥0.24). However, when only D supplements were offered, ruminal liquid dilution rate was greater (P=0.03) for SBM supplemented steers compared with cohorts receiving supplemental urea, whereas ruminal liquid fill was greater (P=0.03) for steers fed urea supplements. Nitrogen supplementation increased (P<0.01) ruminal NH3-N by 122% and 70%, compared with the CON, on the days when both D and 2D supplements were provided and when only D supplements were provided, respectively. We noted a N source×SF interaction for ruminal NH3-N on the days when D and 2D supplements were provided (P=0.02), as well as when only D supplements were provided (P<0.01). On the days when D and 2D supplements were provided, urea increased NH3-N by 61% (2.93 vs. 4.73mM for D and 2D, respectively), whereas the increase in NH3-N with SBM was only 15% (2.23 vs. 2.58mM for D and 2D, respectively). However, when only D supplements were provided, NH3-N was almost 36% less for the 2D compared with the D urea treatment (2.76 vs. 1.81mM, respectively), whereas an 11% increase was noted for SBM 2D compared with SBM D (1.99 vs. 1.79mM, respectively). Total concentration of VFA was increased on the days when both D and 2D supplements were provided (P=0.03), but not influenced by treatments on the days when only D supplements were provided (P≥0.50). In summary, providing a urea-based supplement, as infrequently as every-other-day, was an effective alternative to a SBM-based supplement in maintaining acceptable ruminal fermentation of steers consuming low-quality, cool-season forage. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
author list (cited authors)
Cappellozza, B. I., Bohnert, D. W., Schauer, C. S., Falck, S. J., Vanzant, E. S., Harmon, D. L., & Cooke, R. F.