Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Effects of substituting corn with steam-flaked sorghum on growth, digestion and blood metabolites in young cattle fed feedlot diets

C. Wang A , Q. Liu A D , G. Guo A , W. J. Huo A , Y. L. Zhang A , C. X. Pei A , S. L. Zhang A , W. Z. Yang A B and H. Wang C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A College of Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicines, Shanxi Agricultural University, Taigu, Shanxi, P.R. China, 030801.

B Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Centre, PO Box 3000, Lethbridge, AB, Canada, T1J 4B1.

C Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Bureau of Yuci County, Shanxi Province, Yuci, P.R. China, 030600.

D Corresponding author. Email: liuqiangabc@163.com

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN16265
Submitted: 8 May 2016  Accepted: 5 August 2016   Published online: 23 September 2016

Abstract

The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effects of substituting ground corn grain with steam-flaked sorghum (SFS) grain on growth performance, nutrient utilisation and blood metabolites in beef bulls. Fifty-six Simmental beef bulls averaging 12 months of age and 356.4 ± 2.6 kg of bodyweight were randomly assigned to four groups. The treatments were control, low-SFS, medium-SFS and high–SFS, with 0, 1/3, 2/3 and 3/3 SFS grain, respectively, substituting ground corn grain of diets(dry matter (DM) basis). Diets consisted of 50% corn silage and 50% concentrate (DM basis). The average daily gain and feed conversion rate improved quadratically with increasing the proportion of SFS grain. Ruminal pH and ammonia-nitrogen (N) concentration decreased quadratically, whereas ruminal total volatile fatty acid concentration increased quadratically. Ratio of acetate to propionate decreased quadratically (P = 0.027) due to the quadratic decrease in acetate production and the quadratic increase in propionate production. Digestibilities of DM, organic matter and crude protein increased quadratically, whereas that of neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre decreased quadratically. The digestible N, retention N and the retention N to digestible N ratio improved quadratically. Inclusion of SFS grain in diets quadratically increased blood concentrations of glucose, total protein, albumin and triglyceride, but quadratically decreased the concentration of urea N. The results indicated that partly substituting ground corn grain with SFS grain could improve growth performance by improving ruminal fermentation and N utilisation; the optimum substitution rate was 2/3 (DM basis).

Additional keywords: feed conversion rate, ruminal undegradable protein, starch, tannin.


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