Apparent digestibility, nitrogen balance, and ruminal constituents in ram lambs fed high-concentrate diets containing soybean hulls.J Anim Sci 2011; 89(12):4127-33JA
Corn often constitutes the main portion of high-concentrate diets fed to feedlot lambs. However, soybean hulls (SH) may be used to replace corn, and may reduce feed costs and the risk of acidosis. The objective of this experiment was to determine the effect of SH inclusion rate in high-concentrate diets on DMI, apparent digestibility of nutrients, N balance, and some rumen constituents. Sixteen ruminally fistulated Santa Inês ram lambs (44.3 ± 5 kg of BW and 6 mo old) were housed in suspended metabolism crates. A randomized complete block design experiment with 4 diets and 4 blocks was used. Blocks were defined by BW, and diets were allotted randomly within block. The control diet contained 70% corn and 0% SH. In the remaining diets, SH replaced corn at the rate of 15, 30, or 45% of the original corn concentration, which resulted in 0, 10.5, 21.0, and 31.4% of SH in the dietary DM. The DMI (kg/d) increased linearly (P < 0.01) with increasing dietary SH inclusion. A trend was observed for linear decreases (P = 0.10) in apparent DM, OM, and nonfiber carbohydrate digestibility, and a trend was observed for an increase (P = 0.08) in NDF digestibility with increasing dietary SH addition. Apparent digestibilities of CP and ether extract and ADF digestibility were not affected by SH inclusion rate. Total ruminal concentration of short-chain fatty acids was affected quadratically (P = 0.03) by diet; acetate concentration increased linearly (P < 0.01), whereas quadratic effects were observed on propionate concentration (P = 0.03) and acetate-to-propionate ratio (P < 0.01) with increasing dietary SH. Ruminal pH increased linearly (P < 0.01) as corn was replaced by SH. Nitrogen retention was not affected by the addition of SH, in spite of a linear increase in urinary N (P < 0.01). The replacement of corn grain with up to 45% SH (31.4% of SH in the dietary DM) resulted in a trend to decrease apparent digestibility of DM and to increase NDF digestibility, presenting a fermentation pattern that would reduce the risk of acidosis.