Beef production from silage 3. The effect of supplements of hay and dried grass on the performance of beef cattle

Thomas, C.J. and Tetlow, R.M. and Gibbs, B.G. and Gill, M. (1983) Beef production from silage 3. The effect of supplements of hay and dried grass on the performance of beef cattle. Animal Production, 37 (2). pp. 195-202. ISSN 1357-7298

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1. The primary growth of perennial ryegrass was cut between 7 and 9 June and ensiled with formic acid at 2·5 1/t. The regrowth was cut on 24 July; part was dried at high temperature (dried grass), the remainder was left to dry in the field (hay). The dried grass (DG) and part of the hay were ground and pelleted, the hay being pelleted alone (PH) or with the addition of formaldehyde at 20 g/kg crude protein (PHF). The remainder of the hay was offered in the chopped form (CH). The four supplements (CH, PH, PHF, DG) were offered at two levels, 6·5 (L) and 130 (H) g dry matter per kg live weight to 54 British Friesian steers (initial live weight, 110 kg) receiving the silage ad libitum.

2. The silage had a high pH and a high proportion of the total nitrogen was in the form of ammonia, indicating poor fermentation. The solubility of nitrogen in the supplements was highest (262 g/kg total nitrogen) in CH, progressively less in PH and PHF and lowest (122 g/kg total nitrogen) in DG.

3. Total dry-matter intake was highest with DG at the higher level of inclusion. Dry-matter intake was significantly higher for PH and PHF than for CH (P < 0·001). However, intake of digestible energy did not differ between hays. Live-weight gain was increased from a low level of 0·24 kg/day (silage alone) by all supplements, but this effect was greater with DG than with the hays (P < 0·001). Level of supplementation increased live-weight gain from 0·54 to 0·74 kg/day.

4. Supplements of dried grass gave higher live-weight gains than did hay made from the same sward. However, the results indicate that supplementation of badly preserved silage with grass hay of good quality can produce acceptable levels of performance of up to 0·70 kg/day in 4-month-old steers. Processing of the hay had little effect on animal performance.

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Divisions:College of Science
ID Code:38374
Deposited On:31 Oct 2019 15:03

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