Comparison of warm season and cool season forages for dairy grazing systems in continuous culture

Kathryn E. Ruh, Bradley J. Heins, Isaac J. Salfer, Robert D. Gardner, Marshall D. Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The objective of this study was to compare warm-season annual grasses to cool-season perennial (CSP) grasses for ruminal nutrient digestibility and N metabolism in a dual-flow continuous culture fermentation system. Dietary treatments were 1) fresh alfalfa, 2) CSP grasses and legumes, 3) brown-midrib sorghum-sudangrass (BMRSS), and 4) teff grass from an organic dairy production system. Eight dual-flow continuous culture fermenters were used during two consecutive 10-d periods consisting of 7 d for stabilization followed by 3 d of sampling. Fermenter samples were collected on days 8, 9, and 10 for analysis of pH, NH3-N, and VFA. Apparent DM, OM, NDF, and ADF digestibility were on average lesser (P < 0.05) in CSP grasses and legumes and warm-season annual grasses compared with alfalfa. True DM and OM digestibility were lesser (P < 0.05) for CSP grasses and legumes and warm-season annual grasses compared with fresh alfalfa. Total VFA were not affected (P > 0.05) by forage. The NH3-N concentrations were highest (P < 0.05) with alfalfa compared with the other CSP grasses and legumes and warm-season annual grasses. CP digestibility was not affected (P > 0.05) by forage treatment. Flow of NH3-N was greatest (P < 0.05) for alfalfa, reflecting the greatest NH3-N concentration. Flow of total N was greatest (P < 0.05) for alfalfa, intermediate for teff, and lowest for CSP grasses and legumes and BMRSS. Flows of bacterial N, efficiency of bacterial N, non-NH3-N, and dietary N were not affected (P > 0.05) by forage source. Overall, fermentation of warm-season grasses was similar to the cool-season grasses and legumes which indicate dairy producers may use warm-season grasses without concerns about negative impact on rumen health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-134
Number of pages10
JournalTranslational Animal Science
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

Keywords

  • Continuous culture fermentation
  • Grazing
  • Sorghum-sudangrass
  • Teff

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