EFFECT OF ENERGY SUPPLEMENTATION FROM BY-PRODUCT FEED PELLETS ON PRODUCTIVITY AND NUTRIENT UTILIZATION OF CATTLE GRAZING STOCKPILED CRESTED WHEATGRASS (Agropyron cristatum L.)
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Three experiments were conducted to determine the effects of source (experiment 1), frequency, and level (experiments 2 and 3) of energy supplementation on performance, forage utilization and intake, productivity, rumen fermentation, and nutrient digestibility of growing beef cattle fed stockpiled forage. In experiment 1 (EXP1) and experiment 2 (EXP2), 45 cross bred yearling steers were managed on stockpiled crested wheatgrass pasture over 70 days during summer/fall of 2011 and 2012. Steers were stratified by IBW (EXP1 = 334±1.2 kg; EXP2 = 358±1.8 kg) and allocated randomly to 1 of 9 crested wheatgrass pastures (5 steers/pasture). Each pasture was randomly assigned to 1 of 3 replicated (n = 3) treatments. In EXP1, two isonitrogenous and isocaloric by-product feed pellets that differed in starch and degradable fiber content were used in one of three supplementation strategies: 1) no supplement (CON), or supplemented at 0.6 % of BW with 2) low starch/high fibre (LS/HF) pellet (40.3% starch; 29.5% NDF DM basis) pellet, or 3) high starch/low fibre (HS/LF; 48.6% starch; 22.8% NDF DM basis) pellet. In EXP2 a by-product feed pellet was formulated to provide ruminal and post-ruminal energy (30.3 % NDF; 32.0 % starch; 7.2 % fat) supplementation strategies included: 1) daily (DLY) supplementation at 0.6 % of BW, 2) low-alternate (LA) supplementation at 0.9 % of BW, and 3) high-alternate (HA) supplementation at 1.2 % of BW. There was no effect (P > 0.05) of treatment on forage utilization in either experiment. In EXP 1, final BW and ADG were not different (P > 0.05) between LS/HF (435 kg; 1.4 kg d-1) and HS/LF (439 kg; 1.5 kg d-1). However, supplemented cattle had higher (P < 0.05) final BW and ADG than CON cattle (402 kg; 1.0 kg d-1). Supplementation increased production costs by 450 %. In EXP 2, no difference (P > 0.05) was observed for final BW and ADG among DLY (435 kg; 1.1 kg d-1), LA (424 kg; 0.9 kg d-1), and HA (428 kg; 1.0 kg d-1). Production costs were reduced by 23 % with alternate supplementation and LA had 19 % less production costs than HA. In experiment three (EXP 3), four ruminally cannulated beef heifers were individually fed a stockpiled grass hay and offered the same pelleted supplement as in EXP2. Treatments consisted of 4 supplementation strategies: 1) no supplement (CON), 2) daily (DLY) supplementation at 0.6% BW, 3) low-alternate (LA) supplementation at 0.9 % of BW, and 4) high-alternate (HA) supplementation at 1.2 % of BW. Forage intake, rumen fermentation parameters, and apparent total tract digestibility were measured. Three data sets were analyzed: 1) overall (average of all collection days), 2) day of supplementation (DS) and 3) non-supplementation day (NSD) for alternating treatments. Overall, hay DMI (kg d-1) was lower (P = 0.04) for DLY (7.1) vs. CON (8.1), but no different (P ≥ 0.11) for DLY vs. LA (6.9), or vs. HA (6.4). On DS, hay DMI (kg d-1) of DLY (7.3) differed (P < 0.05) vs. HA (6.0), but was not different (P = 0.16) vs. LA (6.4). On NSD, hay DMI (kg d-1) of DLY (7.0) was not different (P ≥ 0.48) to those of LA (7.3) and HA (6.9). Overall, total VFA concentration (mM) was lower (P < 0.01) for CON (69.2) vs. DLY (77.1); but not different (P ≥ 0.45) for DLY vs. LA (75.8) or HA (75.1). Rumen NH3 (mg/dL) was lower (P < 0.01) for CON (3.4) and higher (P < 0.01) for LA (5.8) vs. DLY (4.6), but not different (P = 0.37) for DLY vs. HA (4.3). Overall, ruminal pH was lower (P ≤ 0.04) for DLY (6.65) vs. CON (6.75) and HA (6.72), but similar (P = 0.18) for DLY vs. LA (6.70). On DS, ruminal pH was lower (P = 0.04) for HA (6.59) vs. DLY (6.64), but higher (P < 0.01) on NSD for HA (6.85) vs. DLY (6.67). Apparent DM, OM and GE digestibility coefficients were lower (P ≤ 0.03) for CON and LA vs. DLY, but no difference (P ≥ 0.36) for DLY vs. HA. These results indicate that beef steers grazing stockpiled crested wheatgrass were limited in energy intake and that supplementation of metabolizable energy improved animal performance regardless of the source of energy. Reducing the frequency of energy supplementation and level offered on alternate days do not affect animal performance and reduces the production costs of the system. Negative effects of alternate day supplementation on forage intake and rumen fermentation are reduced when a lower level is offered relative to simply doubling the daily amount of supplement.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentAnimal and Poultry Science
SupervisorMcKinnon, John J.; Lardner, Herbert A.
CommitteePenner, Greg B.; Jefferson, Paul G.; Buchanan, Fiona C.
Copyright DateSeptember 2013
Energy supplementation, beef cattle, stockpiled crested wheatgrass