Nitrogen fertilization on rye pasture: Effect on forage chemical composition, voluntary intake, digestibility and rumen degradation
Ferri, C.M.; Stritzler, N.P.; Pagella, J.H.
Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science 190(5): 347-354
ISSN/ISBN: 0931-2250 DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-037x.2004.00107.x
The effects of nitrogen (N) fertilization of a rye pasture (Secale cereale L.) on the chemical composition of forage and its utilization in vivo and in situ were investigated in winter (W) and early spring (S). Half of the paddock to be assayed was spread with 93 kg urea-N ha-1 (treatment F), and the other half was not fertilized (treatment NF). Each experiment lasted for 17 days; apparent dry matter digestibility in vivo, voluntary dry matter intake (DMI) and digestible DMI were measured on nine rams per treatment. Two rumen cannulated animals per treatment were under the same feeding regime, and used to collect samples of rumen contents. The concentrations of ammonia (NH3) and short-chain fatty acids and pH were measured in these samples. The offered forage was also incubated in the rumen of three Holstein-Friesian steers to estimate its degradation parameters in situ. Fertilization with N increased total N and decreased dry matter (DM) and non-structural carbohydrate concentrations in both periods. DMI was reduced by fertilization. The rumen concentrations of NH3 were higher in F than in NF in both periods. In both periods, the effective DM degradability of forage was higher in F than in NF. N fertilization affects chemical composition, voluntary intake and rumen digestion of forage from rye pasture.