Ammonia emissions and performance of backgrounding and finishing beef feedlot cattle fed barley-based diets varying in dietary crude protein concentration and rumen degradability
Koenig, K.M.; McGinn, S.M.; Beauchemin, K.A.
Journal of Animal Science 91(5): 2278-2294
ISSN/ISBN: 1525-3163 PMID: 23478824 DOI: 10.2527/jas.2012-5651
Crossbred beef steers (n = 312) were used in an experiment with a completely randomized design during the growing (235 ± 1.6 kg initial BW) and finishing (363 ± 2.7 kg) phase to determine the effects of dietary CP concentration and rumen degradability on NH3-N emissions, growth performance, and carcass traits. Diets were barley based and consisted of 55% silage and 45% concentrate in the backgrounding phase and 9% silage and 91% concentrate in the finishing phase. For each phase, there were 4 dietary treatments (6 pens of 13 cattle per diet): the basal diet with no protein supplementation (12% CP backgrounding and 12.6% CP finishing) or supplemented (14% CP) with urea (UREA), urea and canola meal (UREA+CM), or urea, corn gluten meal, and xylose-treated soybean meal (UREA+CGM+xSBM). Feed intake and BW of cattle were measured at 3-wk intervals. One pen of steers fed the 12 or 12.6% CP and 1 pen fed 1 of the 14% CP diets were housed in 2 isolated pens to quantify NH3-N emissions using the integrated horizontal flux technique with passive NH3 samplers. In the backgrounding phase final BW, ADG, and G:F were less (P < 0.05) in cattle fed the 12% CP and UREA compared with the UREA+CM and UREA+CGM+xSBM diets. Nitrogen-use efficiency of cattle fed UREA+CM and UREA+CGM+xSBM was equal to that of cattle fed 12% CP and averaged 19.8%. In the finishing phase, there was no effect (P > 0.10) of CP supplementation on BW, DMI, ADG, G:F, N-use efficiency, and carcass traits. The NH3-N emissions from December to February during the backgrounding phase ranged from 4.3 to 25.6 g N/(steer•d) and 3.8 to 16.3% of N intake and from April to July during the finishing phase ranged from 9.7 to 76.4 g N/(steer•d) and 4.4 to 26.7% of N intake. Differences in NH3-N emissions between the pens of cattle fed the backgrounding diets with 12 and 14% CP were not detected. For cattle fed the 12.6 and 14% CP finishing diets, NH3-N emissions tended (P ≤ 0.16) to be less for 2 of the 5 periods and averaged 14.4 and 28.1 g N/(steer•d) and 7.7 and 12.7% of N intake, respectively. The NH3-N emitted as a % of N intake averaged 42% less for cattle fed 12.6% compared with 14% CP. Feeding the barley-based concentrate diet to finishing cattle with 12.6% compared with 14% CP diets reduced NH3-N emissions with no effect on performance. Feeding the barley-based forage diet to backgrounding cattle with 12% CP, however, reduced performance compared with growing cattle fed supplementary degradable and undegradable true protein.