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Responses to various protein and energy supplements by steers fed low-quality tropical hay. 1. Comparison of response surfaces for young steers

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McLennan, S. R., Bolam, M. J., Kidd, J. F., Chandra, K. A. and Poppi, D. P. (2016) Responses to various protein and energy supplements by steers fed low-quality tropical hay. 1. Comparison of response surfaces for young steers. Animal Production Science . ISSN 1836-0939

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN15659


Response curves were established for different supplements, offered at intakes ranging from 0 to 20 g/kg liveweight (W).day to young Bos indicus crossbred steers fed low-quality Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) hay ad libitum in two pen experiments. Supplements included protein meals of varying rumen-degradability (cottonseed meal (CSM) or fishmeal), as well as ‘energy sources’ comprising grains of high and low ruminal starch degradability (barley and sorghum) and a highly fermentable sugar source (molasses), with all diets adjusted for rumen-degradable nitrogen and mineral content. Unsupplemented steers gained 0.08 and 0.15 kg/day, in Experiments 1 and 2, respectively. Growth of steers increased linearly with intake of ‘energy source’ supplements in increasing order of molasses, sorghum and barley (all differences P < 0.05). Steer growth rate also increased linearly with fishmeal, albeit over a narrow intake range (0–4.1 g/kg W.day), whereas the response with CSM was asymptotic, showing a steep response at low intake before levelling at ~1.2 kg/day. All supplement types were associated with a linear reduction in hay intake by the steers (energy substitution) where the reduction was greater (P < 0.05) for barley and molasses (not different) than for sorghum (P < 0.05), and for fishmeal compared with CSM (P < 0.05). In concurrent metabolism studies with the same rations, organic matter digestibility of the total ration (561–578 g/kg DM, unsupplemented) was increased linearly by barley and molasses (both P < 0.05) but was unaffected by CSM and sorghum supplements. The efficiency of microbial protein synthesis in steers increased linearly, from 91 g microbial crude protein/kg digestible organic matter (unsupplemented), in both molasses and CSM-supplemented steers, with the trend for a higher response to molasses (P = 0.05), and appeared most closely related to digestible organic matter intake. The response curves from these studies provide the practical framework upon which to formulate rations for cattle grazing low-quality forages.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Subjects:Animal culture > Cattle
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Live Archive:01 Jun 2016 07:01
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:44

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