Using low-moisture molasses-based blocks to supplement Ca salts of soybean oil to forage-fed beef cows
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This experiment compared plasma fatty acid (FA) profile of forage-fed beef cows receiving a molasses-based supplement enriched with Ca salts of soybean oil [CSSO; 24.7% of dry matter (DM)] via a self-fed low-moisture block (LMB) or hand-fed granular concentrate daily (CONC). Thirty-six nonlactating, nonpregnant, multiparous beef cows were blocked by age (three blocks), ranked within blocks by body weight (BW) and body condition score (BCS), and allocated to 1 of three drylot pens (27 × 10 m) per block. Nine pens with four cows each were enrolled in a replicated 3 × 2 Latin square design with two periods of 42 d, and a 21-d washout interval. On day 0, pens within each block were randomly assigned to receive one of the three treatments, in a manner that pens did not receive the same treatment in both periods (total n = 6 pens per treatment). Cows received hay (Cynodon dactylon), water, and a mineral-vitamin mix for ad libitum consumption during the study. Hay intake was recorded daily from days 0 to 42, and LMB intake was recorded from days 14 to 42 to allow cows to adapt to supplement with minimal interference from days 0 to 13. The CONC was offered at 0.420 kg/cow daily (DM basis) from days 0 to 13 and then adjusted (days 14 to 42) to match LMB intake. Cow BW and BCS were recorded, and blood samples were collected on days 0, 14, 28, and 42. Average LMB intake during the initial 13 d was 0.846 ± 0.107 kg/cow daily (DM basis). Supplement DM intake did not differ (P = 0.39) between LMB and CONC cows from days 14 to 42 as designed (0.570 vs. 0.583 kg/d, respectively; SEM = 0.011), despite a greater variation in daily intake of LMB vs. CONC (treatment × day interaction; P < 0.01). No treatments effects were noted (P ≥ 0.40) for hay intake, BCS, and BW. Treatment × day interactions were detected (P ≤ 0.01) for plasma concentrations of ω-6 polyunsaturated FA and total FA. On day 0, plasma FA profile did not differ (P ≥ 0.20) between treatments. From days 14 to 42, plasma concentrations of linoleic acid, ω-6 polyunsaturated FA, and total FA were greater (P < 0.01) in CONC and LMB vs. NOSUPP cows. Plasma concentrations of these FA were also greater (P ≤ 0.03) in LMB vs. CONC cows on day 14, but did not differ (P ≥ 0.35) on days 28 and 42. These results indicate that CSSO inclusion into LMB resulted in similar incorporation of ω-6 polyunsaturated and total FA in the circulation compared with CONC offered at the same daily rate. Hence, the use of self-fed LMB appears to be a valid strategy to provide CSSO to forage-fed beef cattle with reduced labor needs.
author list (cited authors)
Brandão, A. P., Cooke, R. F., Schubach, K. M., Colombo, E. A., Scatolin, G. N., Rett, B., Jump, D. B., & Pohler, K. G.