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The utilization of spear grass heteropogon contortus 4. the nature and flow of digesta in cattle fed on spear grass alone and with protein or nitrogen or sulfur



The utilization of spear grass heteropogon contortus 4. the nature and flow of digesta in cattle fed on spear grass alone and with protein or nitrogen or sulfur



Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 31(5): 1037-1048



Digestion studies were carried out with steers fed low quality spear grass (H. contortus) alone and supplemented with either urea and S or cottonseed meal. Urea and S were administered by continuous infusion and cottonseed meal by direct addition to the rumen once daily. Supplementation with either non-protein N or true protein resulted in a significant increase in digestible organic matter intake without a change in digestibility of the diet. Digestible organic matter intakes were 1.48, 1.88 and 2.28 kg/day for spear grass, spear grass plus urea and S and spear grass plus cottonseed meal, respectively. On all diets there was a net gain of N in the stomach, highlighting the role of recycled N in the digestion of low quality feedstuffs. Non-ammonia N (35 g)/day (2.7 g/100 g organic matter digested in the stomach) reached the intestine when the diet was spear grass alone, 46 g (3.0 g/100 g dry organic matter) when the supplement was urea and 72 g (3.8 g/100 g) when the supplement was cottonseed meal. Results demonstrate limitations of supplements of urea in improving N status of animals fed a basal diet of low quality (low energy) roughage.

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