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Chestnut and mimosa tannin silages: Effects in sheep differ for apparent digestibility, nitrogen utilisation and losses

Givens, D. I., Deaville, E. R. and Mueller-Harvey, I. (2010) Chestnut and mimosa tannin silages: Effects in sheep differ for apparent digestibility, nitrogen utilisation and losses. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 157 (3-4). pp. 129-138. ISSN 0377-8401

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2010.02.007


This paper reports effects of chestnut and mimosa tannins on N utilisation in sheep. Tannins were added to grass either at ensilage or incorporated into grass silage at feeding. The study used an 8 × 5 incomplete Latin Square design with eight mature wether sheep and five 21-day periods. Tannin additions reduced in vivo apparent digestibilities of dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM) and neutral detergent fibre (aNDFom) compared with the untreated control silage (P<0.001). Reductions ranged from 7.6% for DM to 8.5% for aNDFom. Chestnut compared to mimosa tannin silages produced higher values for DM intake (734 g/day versus 625 g/day) and in vivo digestibility for DM, OM and aNDFom (0.66, 0.68 and 0.69 versus 0.61, 0.63 and 0.62; P<0.001). A substantial shift occurred in the pattern of N excretion in sheep fed the tannin versus control silages. As a proportion of daily N intake, urinary N losses were lower (56.4 g/100 g N versus 65.1 g/100 g N intake) and faecal N losses were higher (40.2 g/100 g N versus 29.8 g/100 g N intake) for sheep fed the tannin silages compared with those fed the control grass silage (P<0.001). Nitrogen intake was higher in sheep fed the chestnut compared to mimosa tannin silages (16.2 g/day versus 13.4 g/day; P<0.001), reflecting the lower DM intake of sheep fed the mimosa silages. However, faecal N loss was lower for chestnut compared to mimosa tannin silage fed sheep (38.2 g/100 g N versus 42.1 g/100 g N intake; P<0.01), resulting in higher N retentions with the chestnut compared to the mimosa silage fed sheep (5.49 g/100 g N versus 1.38 g/100 g N intake). Faecal N losses were also higher when tannins were added during ensiling rather than at feeding (P<0.05). Although there was no overall effect of tannins on N retention in mature wether sheep, it is likely that productive ruminants with higher protein requirements would retain more N from silages containing chestnut tannins. Tannins added externally to grass silages may generate some benefits on N utilisation and environmental N excretions in sheep fed the silages.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Food Production and Quality Division > Animal, Dairy and Food Chain Sciences (ADFCS)
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Food Chain and Health
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Food Security
ID Code:16923
Uncontrolled Keywords:Tannins; Grass silage; Apparent digestibility; N utilisation; Environmental losses

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