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Diet quality and liveweight gain of steers grazing Leucaena-grass pasture estimated with faecal near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (F.NIRS)

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Dixon, R.M. and Coates, D.B. (2008) Diet quality and liveweight gain of steers grazing Leucaena-grass pasture estimated with faecal near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (F.NIRS). Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 48 (7). pp. 835-842.

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/EA08007

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/


Three drafts of Bos indicus cross steers (initially 178-216 kg) grazed Leucaena-grass pasture [Leucaena leucocephala subspecies glabrata cv. Cunningham with green panic (Panicum maximum cv. trichoglume)] from late winter through to autumn during three consecutive years in the Burnett region of south-east Queensland. Measured daily weight gain (DWGActual) of the steers was generally 0.7-1.1 kg/day during the summer months. Estimated intakes of metabolisable energy and dry matter (DM) were calculated from feeding standards as the intakes required by the steers to grow at the DWGActual. Diet attributes were predicted from near infrared reflectance spectroscopy spectra of faeces (F.NIRS) using established calibration equations appropriate for northern Australian forages. Inclusion of some additional reference samples from cattle consuming Leucaena diets into F.NIRS calibrations based on grass and herbaceous legume-grass pastures improved prediction of the proportion of Leucaena in the diet. Mahalanobis distance values supported the hypothesis that the F.NIRS predictions of diet crude protein concentration and DM digestibility (DMD) were acceptable. F.NIRS indicated that the percentage of Leucaena in the diet varied widely (10-99%). Diet crude protein concentration and DMD were usually high, averaging 12.4 and 62%, respectively, and were related asymptotically to the percentage of Leucaena in the diet (R2 = 0.48 and 0.33, respectively). F.NIRS calibrations for DWG were not satisfactory to predict this variable from an individual faecal sample since the s.e. of prediction were 0.33-0.40 kg/day. Cumulative steer liveweight (LW) predicted from F.NIRS DWG calibrations, which had been previously developed with tropical grass and grass-herbaceous legume pastures, greatly overestimated the measured steer LW; therefore, these calibrations were not useful. Cumulative steer LW predicted from a modified F.NIRS DWG calibration, which included data from the present study, was strongly correlated (R2 = 0.95) with steer LW but overestimated LW by 19-31 kg after 8 months. Additional reference data are needed to develop robust F.NIRS calibrations to encompass the diversity of Leucaena pastures of northern Australia. In conclusion, the experiment demonstrated that F.NIRS could improve understanding of diet quality and nutrient intake of cattle grazing Leucaena-grass pasture, and the relationships between nutrient supply and cattle growth.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Animal Science
Additional Information:© CSIRO.
Keywords:Leucaena; Leucaena leucocephala; cattle; near infrared reflectance spectroscopy.
Subjects:Technology > Technology (General) > Spectroscopy > NIR (Near Infrared)
Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Animal culture > Cattle
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Live Archive:29 Jan 2009 05:23
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:47

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