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Recent information on processing of grain for ruminants


Livestock Production Science 6(4): 335-348
Recent information on processing of grain for ruminants
When excessively processed cereals are given to ruminants, a vast surface area of highly fermentable substrate is exposed to the rumen microorganisms. The subsequent effect on digestion and metabolism will depend largely on whether the cereal-based diets are fed as the main or sole part of the diet or whether they are given as supplements to roughage-based diets. Given as sole feeds, excessively processed grains can give rise to alterations in carcass quality (soft fat) in lambs and problems of acidosis and rumenitis. Given as supplements to diets based on roughage, excessively processed grains can seriously reduce the rate of cellulose digestion with a consequent decrease in roughage intake and digestibility. The optimum extent of processing appears to be the minimum required to avoid an unacceptably low digestibility. The processing required is different for small ruminants (e.g., sheep, goats and calves) than for large (e.g., cattle). For sheep, grain should be fed whole; processing does not increase digestibility or food utilization and can result in depressed cellulose digestion and in soft fat. For cattle some processing is required to ensure adequate digestion but the optimum is that required to give entrance through the seed coats to microorganisms and digestive enzymes. New methods, such as chemical treatment of whole grain, have given promising results.

Accession: 006269563

DOI: 10.1016/0301-6226(79)90002-2

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