Apparent digestibility and nitrogen utilisation of diets based on maize and grass silage fed to beef steers
Browne, E. M., Juniper, D. T., Bryant, M. J. and Beever, D. E. (2005) Apparent digestibility and nitrogen utilisation of diets based on maize and grass silage fed to beef steers. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 119 (1-2). pp. 55-68. ISSN 0377-8401
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2004.12.001
Substituting grass silage with maize silage in forage mixtures may result in one forage influencing the nutritive value of another in terms of whole tract nutrient digestibility and N utilisation. This experiment investigated effects of four forage combinations being, grass silage (G); 67 g/100 g grass silage + 33 g/100 g maize silage (GGM); 67 g/100 g maize silage + 33 g/100 g grass silage (MMG); maize silage (M). All diets were formulated to be isonitrogenous (22.4 g N/kg dry matter [DM]) using a concentrate mixture. Ration digestibility and N balance was determined using 7 Holstein Friesian steers (mean body weight 411.0 +/- 120.9 kg) in a cross-over design. Inclusion of maize silage in the diet had a positive linear effect on forage and total DM intake (P = 0.001), and on apparent DM and organic matter digestibility (both P = 0.048). Regardless of the silage ratio used, the metabolisable energy concentration of maize silage was calculated to be higher than that of grass silage (P = 0.058), and linearly related to the relative proportions of the two silages in the forage mixture. Inclusion of maize silage in the diet resulted in a linear decline in the apparent digestibility of starch (P = 0.022), neutral detergent fibre (P < 0.001) and acid detergent fibre (P = 0.003). Nitrogen retention, expressed as amount retained per day or in terms of body weight (g/100 kg) increased linearly with maize inclusion (P = 0.047 and 0.046, respectively). Replacing grass silage with maize silage caused linear responses according to the proportions of each forage in the diet, and that there were no associative effects of combining forages. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.