Corn oil or corn grain supplementation to steers grazing endophyte-free tall fescue. I. Effects on in vivo digestibility, performance, and carcass quality.J Anim Sci 2008; 86(11):3215-23JA
Twenty-eight Angus (289 +/- 3.8 kg) steers were used in a completely randomized design to evaluate the effect of isocaloric supplementation of 2 different energy sources to steers rotationally grazing tall fescue pastures for 197 d in comparison to positive and negative controls. Steers were supplemented with either corn grain (0.52% BW on a DM basis; PC) or soybean hulls plus corn oil (0.45% BW on a DM basis + 0.10% BW on an as-fed basis; PO) using Calan gates for individual intake measurement. Negative, pasture only (PA), and positive, high-concentrate control diets (85% concentrate:15% roughage on DM basis; C) were also included in the study. Steers on PC, PO, and PA treatments were managed together under a rotational grazing system, whereas C steers were fed a high-concentrate diet for the final 113 d using Calan gates. Forage DMI and apparent DM and NDF digestibility for the grazing treatments were evaluated using Cr(2)O(5) and indigestible NDF as digesta markers. Energy supplementation decreased (P = 0.02) forage DMI (% of BW) with respect to PA, but not (P = 0.58) total DMI. There were no differences (P = 0.53) among grazing treatments on apparent total DM digestibility. However, NDF digestibility was less (P < or = 0.05) in PC than in PO and PA; the latter 2 treatments did not differ (P > 0.05). Overall ADG was greater (P < 0.01) in supplemented, regardless of type, than in nonsupplemented grazing treatments. During the final 113 d, ADG was greater (P < 0.01) in C than in the grazing treatments. Overall supplement conversion did not differ (P = 0.73) between supplement types and was less (P = 0.006) than C. Carcass traits did not differ (P > 0.05) between energy sources. Dressing percentage and HCW were greater (P < 0.01) in supplemented cattle than in PA. Fat thickness and KPH percentage for PA were less (P < 0.05) than for PO but did not differ (P > 0.14) from PC. Marbling score, LM area, and quality grade did not differ (P > 0.05) between grazing treatments. Hot carcass weight for C was heavier (P < 0.001) than for pastured cattle. Quality and yield grades of C carcasses were also greater (P < 0.001) than carcasses from pastured steers. Energy supplementation, regardless of source, to grazing steers increased ADG, dressing percentage, and carcass weight compared with PA steers; however, supplemented steers had less ADG, efficiency, dressing percentage, and carcass weight compared with high-concentrate finished steers.