Comparative feeding value of forages from two cereal-legume based cropping systems for beef production from crossbred (Bos taurus x Bos indicus) steers and subsequent performance of underfed and realimented steers

Umunna, N.N.; Osuji, P.O.; Khalili, H.; Nsahlai, I.V.; Crosse, S.

Animal Science 61(1): 35-42


Accession: 002581987

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In a 250-day growth trial 24 Friesian x Boron steers (mean liveweight 157 kg) were fed on feeds produced from cereal-legume cropping systems: cropping system 1 consisted of oat-vetch (Avena sativa, Vicia dasycarpa [V. villosa]), wheat-trifolium (Triticum aestivum, Trifolium steudneri), teff (Eragrostis tef) and chickpea (Pisum sp.); cropping system 2 differed from 1 in that the maize-lablab (Zea mays, Lablab purpureus) replaced wheat-trifolium. The steers were fed ad libitum on teff straw (T1), teff straw + wheat middlings (T2), forages from system 1 fed in the order oat-vetch, wheat-trifolium and teff straw + chickpeas for 135, 48 and 67 days, respectively (T3), or forages from system 2 in the order oat-vetch, maize-lablab and teff straw + chickpeas for 73, 147 and 30 days, respectively (T4). The feeding period for each crop of T3 and T4 was based on its contribution to total DM yield of the cropping system. Apparent digestibility of DM was higher for T3 (615 g/kg) and T4 (642 g/kg) than for T2 (576 g/kg) and T1 (449 g/kg). The daily DM intake of steers on T2 (6.82 kg) was higher than that of steers on T3 (4.86 kg) and T4 (4.61 kg). The liveweight gain of steers on T4 (149 g/day) was higher than that of steers on T3 (85 g/day) but lower than that of steers on T2 (528 g/day); steers on T1 lost 94 g/day. At the end of the trial, 2 steers from each treatment were slaughtered for carcass assessment and the remaining steers used in a realimentation study of 120 days; all steers were fed on teff straw + wheat middlings. Steers on T1, T3 and T4 which had low liveweight gains during the 250-day trial exhibited compensatory gains of 497, 550 and 565 g/day, respectively, during the realimentation period. Steers on T2 had a liveweight gain of 398 g/day during the realimentation period. At the end of the realimentation period carcasses from T2 steers had higher lean and fat contents (125.0 and 18.3 kg, respectively) than carcasses from T3 (79.2 and 9.3 kg) and T4 steers (85.4 and 13.8 kg).