Influence of forage diets on ruminal particle size, passage of digesta, feed intake and digestibility by steers
Prigge, E.C.; Stuthers, B.A.; Jacquemet, N.A.
Journal of Animal Science 68(12): 4352-4360
ISSN/ISBN: 0021-8812 PMID: 2286574 DOI: 10.2527/1990.68124352x
To assess the influence of forage diets on particle size of digesta in the rumen, three ruminally fistulated steers were fed alfalfa, orchardgrass or switchgrass hays in a 3 x 3 Latin square design. Mean sieve size of ruminal digesta for alfalfa, orchardgrass and switchgrass diets was 671, 652 and 466 microns, respectively. A second experiment examined the influence of ruminal particle size on digesta passage, digestibility and intake. Four ruminally fistulated Angus-Hereford steers were given ad libitum access to different proportions of alfalfa and switchgrass in a 4 x 4 Latin square design. Either a 100% alfalfa, 50% alfalfa:50% switchgrass, 25% alfalfa:75% switchgrass or 100% switchgrass diet was offered once daily. Mean sieve sizes of the ruminal digesta of these diets responded cubically (P less than .01; 1,066, 946, 1,003 and 925 microns, respectively). Mean ruminal turnover times were 24.3, 24.8, 24.7 and 29.8 h, respectively. Dry matter intake increased linearly (P less than .10) as the proportion of legume in the diet increased; no influence of diet on DM digestibility was observed. Passage rate of dosed nylon particles 1, 3 and 5 mm in length was influenced (P less than .01) by size; however, no difference in the passage rates of the nylon particles due to diet was evident. Particle size of ruminal digesta did not respond in a linear manner to the proportion of legume in the diet. A smaller ruminal particle size was not associated with a faster turnover of digesta.