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Digestion of forages in the rumen is increased by the amount but not the type of protein supplement

T. Panjaitan, S. P. Quigley, S. R. McLennan, A. J. Swain and D. P. Poppi

Abstract. Three polyester bag experiments were conducted with fistulated Bos indicus steers to determine the effect of the amount and type of nitrogen (N) supplement on the digestion rate of forages different in quality. In Experiment 1, test substrates were incubated in polyester bags in the rumen of steers fed ryegrass, pangola grass, speargrass and Mitchell grass hays in a 4 by 4 Latin-square design. In Experiment 2, test substrates were incubated in polyester bags in the rumen of steers fed speargrass hay supplemented with urea and ammonium sulfate (US), branched-chain amino acids with US (USAA), casein, cottonseed meal, yeast and Chlorella algae in a 7 by 3 incomplete Latin-square design. In Experiment 3, test substrates were incubated in polyester bags in the rumen of steers fed Mitchell grass hay supplemented with increasing amounts of US or Spirulina algae (Spirulina platensis). The test substrates used in all experiments were speargrass, Mitchell grass, pangola grass or ryegrass hays. Digestion rate of the ryegrass substrate was higher than that of the speargrass substrate (P < 0.05) in Experiment 1. Supplementation with various N sources increased the degradation rate and effective degradability of all incubated substrates above that apparent in Control steers (P < 0.05; Experiment 2). Supplementation of US and Spirulina increased degradation rate and effective degradability of ryegrass, pangola grass and Mitchell grass substrates above that apparent in Control steers (P < 0.05; Experiment 3). However, there was no further response on digestion rate of the substrates in increasing supplementation levels either for US or Spirulina. In conclusion, rate of digestion was affected by forage physical and anatomical properties. Supplementation with various N sources increased rate of digestion when the Control forage ration was very low in N but once a minimum level of N supplementation was reached, irrespective of form of N or other potential growth factors, there was no further increase in rate of digestion. DOWNLOAD FILE PDF

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