Supplemental cracked corn or wheat bran for steers grazing endophyte-free fescue pasture: Effects on live weight gain, nutrient quality, forage intake, particulate and fluid kinetics, ruminal fermentation, and digestion


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Two experiments were conducted with beef steers (Exp. 1, average BW of 580 kg; Exp. 2, average BW of 247 kg) to evaluate the use of no supplements (CON) or daily supplementation with (OM basis) .34% of BW of cracked corn (CORN), .34% of BW of wheat bran (WBBW), or .48% of BW of wheat bran (WBISO; calculated to be isocaloric to CORN) on digestive responses (Exp. 1) and live weight gain (Exp. 2). In Exp. 1, type of supplement did not affect (P > .10) the dietary fiber or N constituents, but in vitro OM disappearance of the forage differed (P < .10) with supplementation and type of supplement fed. Supplemented steers consumed less (P < .05) forage and total OM. Particulate passage, fluid passage, and ruminal pH were not affected (P > .10) by supplementation. Ruminal NH3 N concentration showed (P < .05) a treatment x sampling time interaction and, in general, WBBW and WBISO steers had greater ruminal NH3 N than CORN and CON steers. Total VFA concentrations and molar proportions of propionate were lower (P < .10) in CON steers than in supplemented steers; no differences were noted (P > .10) among supplemented steers. Molar proportions of acetate were lower (P .01) in supplemented steers than in CON steers and were greater (P = .03) in WBBW steers than in WBISO steers. Butyrate molar proportions were lower (P < .05) in CON steers than in supplemented steers and differed (P < .10) with type and quantity of supplement supplied. In situ forage NDF disappearance at 6, 9, and 24 h after feeding and rate of disappearance were greater (P < .05) in CON steers than in supplemented steers. In Exp. 2, CON steers weighed less (P = .01) than supplemented steers, CORN steers weighed more (P = .08) than wheat bran-supplemented steers, and WBISO steers weighed more (P = .02) than WBBW steers; ADG for 90 d followed a similar response. Results suggest that supplementation of wheat bran rather than corn did not seem to stop the reduction in forage intake or OM digestion associated with corn supplementation.
cattle,feed intake,digestion,wheat bran
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