Effect of method of applying fibrolytic enzymes or ammonia to Bermudagrass hay on feed intake, digestion, and growth of beef steers.J Anim Sci 2008; 86(4):882-9JA
This study examined how different methods of applying a fibrolytic enzyme or ammonia affect the nutritive value of Bermudagrass hay and the performance of beef cattle. Fifty Angus x Brangus crossbred steers (mean initial BW 244 +/- 26 kg) were individually fed for ad libitum intake of a 5-wk regrowth of a mixture of Florakirk and Tifton 44 Bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers] hay for 84 d with a concentrate supplement (77% soybean hull pellets, 23% cottonseed meal (DM basis) fed at 1% of BW daily. The Bermudagrass was conserved as hay without treatment (control), with NH(3) (30 g/kg of DM), or with a fibrolytic enzyme (16.5 g/t, air-dry basis) that was applied immediately after cutting (Ec), at baling (Eb), or at feeding. Chromic oxide was dosed to steers for 10 consecutive days, and fecal Cr concentrations from the last 5 d were used to estimate apparent total tract digestibility. In situ ruminal DM degradability was measured by incubating ground (4-mm) hay samples in duplicate in each of 2 ruminally cannulated cows having ad libitum access to Bermudagrass hay and 500 g/d of soybean meal. Unlike the enzyme treatment, ammoniation increased (P < 0.001) the CP concentration and reduced (P < 0.001) NDF, hemicellulose, and lignin concentrations of hay. Total DMI was greater (P < 0.05) for steers fed hays treated with Ec or NH(3) than for those fed control hays. All additive treatments increased (P < 0.05) DM digestibility, and NH(3), Ec, and Eb treatments also increased (P < 0.01) NDF digestibility. The initial and final BW, ADG, BCS, G:F, and hip height of the steers were not affected (P > 0.05) by treatment. The wash loss fractions in hays treated with Ec and Eb were lower than that in the control hay, but the potentially degradable fraction, total degradable fraction, and the effective degradability were increased (P < 0.01) by NH(3) treatment. Application at cutting was the most promising method of enzyme treatment, and this treatment was almost as effective as ammonia for enhancing forage quality.