Apparent total tract digestibility, ruminal fermentation, and blood metabolites in beef steers fed green-chopped cool-season forages.
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An experiment was conducted during the winter of two consecutive years to evaluate the effects of feeding green-chopped cool-season forages on digestibility, ruminal fermentation, and blood parameters in beef steers. Nine ruminally cannulated Angus crossbred steers (year 1: 359 ± 79 kg; year 2: 481 ± 105 kg) received ad libitum green-chopped forages from pastures planted with one of the following mixtures: 1) OAT = Horizon 201 oats (Avena sativa L.)/Prine annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) at 95 and 17 kg/ha, respectively; 2) RYE = FL401 cereal rye (Secale cereale L.)/Prine annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) at 78 and 17 kg/ha, respectively; or 3) TRIT = Trical 342 triticale (X Triticosecale spp.)/Prine annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) at 95 and 17 kg/ha, respectively. Intake was measured using the GrowSafe system and orts were discarded prior to subsequent feeding. After a 14-d adaptation, feed and fecal samples were collected twice daily for 4 d to determine apparent total tract nutrient digestibility using indigestible neutral detergent fiber (NDF) as an internal marker. On day 19, blood and ruminal fluid samples were collected every 3 h during a 24-h period to analyze plasma urea nitrogen (PUN) and glucose, ruminal pH, and concentration of ruminal ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N) and volatile fatty acids (VFA). Data were analyzed as a generalized randomized block design with repeated measures using the PROC MIX of SAS. No effect of treatment (P > 0.05) was observed for intake of dry matter, organic matter (OM), crude protein, NDF, or acid detergent fiber. Apparent total tract digestibility of nutrients was greater (P < 0.05) for OAT and TRIT when compared with RYE, with OM digestibility being 82.7%, 79.6%, and 69.5%, respectively. An effect of time (P < 0.01) was observed for ruminal pH. Plasma concentration of glucose was greater (P < 0.01) in steers consuming OAT, whereas steers fed RYE had greater (P < 0.05) concentrations of ruminal NH3-N and PUN, and the least concentration of total ruminal VFA (P < 0.05), despite having the greatest (P > 0.05) molar proportion of acetate, branched-chain VFA, and acetate:propionate. Increased nutrient digestibility and favorable ruminal fermentation and blood metabolites of OAT and TRIT are potentially conducive to enhanced growth performance when compared with RYE.
author list (cited authors)
Schulmeister, T. M., Ruiz-Moreno, M., Garcia-Ascolani, M. E., Ciriaco, F. M., Henry, D. D., Benitez, J., ... DiLorenzo, N.