Section 72
Chapter 71,028

Optimum roughage proportion in barley-based feedlot cattle diets: total tract nutrient digestibility, rumination, ruminal acidosis, short-chain fatty absorption, and gastrointestinal tract barrier function

Chibisa, G.E.; Beauchemin, K.A.; Koenig, K.M.; Penner, G.B.

Journal of Animal Science 98(6)


ISSN/ISBN: 1525-3163
PMID: 32447367
DOI: 10.1093/jas/skaa160
Accession: 071027288

Download citation:  

Cattle need physically effective fiber to promote rumination and maintain rumen health, but economics favor the use of low-roughage feedlot diets. The study investigated the optimum barley silage proportion in barley-based finishing diets. Apparent total-tract digestibility (4-d total fecal collection), chewing behavior (6-d video recording), ruminal pH (6-d indwelling pH recording), and fermentation (1 day, sampling 0, 3, 6, 12, and 18 h postfeeding), short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) absorption (washed reticulorumen technique), gastrointestinal tract barrier function (marker infusion), and blood variables (catheters) were measured. Eight ruminally fistulated crossbred beef heifers (653 +/- 44.2 kg; mean starting body weight [BW] +/- SD) were used in a replicated 4 x 4 Latin square design with 28-d periods. Dietary treatments were 0%, 4%, 8%, and 12% of dietary dry matter (DM) as barley silage, with diets containing 80%, 76%, 72%, and 68% barley grain, respectively. Increasing silage proportion decreased dietary starch content from 49.0% to 43.1% DM, while neutral detergent content increased from 22.7% to 25.1% DM. Silage proportion had no effect on DM intake, but apparent DM digestibility decreased quadratically (86.0%, 82.1%, 81.1%, 79.5% for the four diets, respectively; P < 0.001). Although, silage proportion had no effect on eating activity, rumination time increased quadratically (246, 289, 302, 316 min/d; P = 0.04). Increased silage proportion increased minimum (5.07, 5.27, 5.29, 5.41; quadratic, P = 0.011) and mean (5.61, 5.87, 5.93, 5.95; quadratic, P = 0.007) ruminal pH, and there was a quadratic (P <= 0.047) decrease in duration and area under the pH acidosis threshold curves of 5.8, 5.5, and 5.2. Although increasing silage proportion decreased ruminal acidosis, it was not completely eliminated even with a diet containing 12% silage DM. SCFA concentration in ruminal fluid was not affected by diet, but silage proportion quadratically (P <= 0.088) increased ruminal acetate:propionate. There was no effect of diet on absolute or fractional rates of absorption of acetate, propionate, butyrate or total SCFA, and no effect on gastrointestinal barrier function or blood measurements. In conclusion, responses to roughage level were mostly quadratic with greatest improvements in acidosis variables between 0% and 4% barley silage, with incremental improvements with further increases in silage levels. The study showed a tradeoff between maximizing digestibility and energy intake to promote animal performance and minimizing the risk of acidosis.

PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90