Effect of Protein Supplement Sources on Intake and Digestion of Steers Fed Low-quality Forage



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Potential protein supplements to grazing cattle were evaluated in two projects. In the first project, Karanja seedcake samples were prepared and ruminally incubated using the in situ method to measure nutrient disappearance in cattle consuming low-quality forage. Organic matter and CP were fractionated by degradability into A, B, and C fractions. Organic matter fraction A degradability ranged from 59.6 to 89% (P < 0.05) for all the karanja seedcake samples. Fraction A of CP ranged from 61.6 to 96.2% degradability for all the samples (P < 0.05). Karanja seedcake samples were observed to contain highly degradable nutrients and our results indicate karanja seedcake may possibly be utilized in grazing cattle protein supplements, consequently increasing economic sustainability of biofuel production. In the second experiment, four non-protein nitrogen supplements were ruminally infused in steers consuming low-quality forage. Supplements included a 40% CP mineral mix (40MM), 60% CP mineral mix (60MM), 25% CP liquid (25L), or 35% CP liquid (35L). Protein provision stimulated forage OM intake and total OM intake for both liquid supplements. Forage OM intake tended to be greater for the liquid supplements; 25L (P = 0.06) and 35L (P = 0.08), then control. Total OM intake significantly increased (P < 0.01) for both liquid supplements, when compared to the control treatment. Total digestible OM intake was greater (P < 0.01) for 25L (3.4 kg/d) and 35L (3.36 kg/d) than control (2.94 kg/d). Forage and total OM intake were not significantly affected by 40MM or 60MM treatments. Total tract digestions (OM and NDF) were not observed to be significantly different (P ? 0.11) between supplements and control. Ruminal ammonia was greater (P < 0.01) for all supplements then control and total ruminal VFA concentrations increased from 84.7 to 98.7 mM for control versus supplemented. Supplementation with liquids had a significant effect on intake. Our results indicate of the four supplements, liquid supplements improved the utilization of low-quality forage by cattle, thus improving nutrient stewardship.