Chewing activities and particle size of rumen digesta and feces of precision-fed dairy heifers fed different forage levels with increasing levels of distillers grains

F. X. Suarez-Mena, G. J. Lascano, A. J. Heinrichs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine the effects of 2 differing forage to concentrate ratios (F:C) and various levels of corn dry distillers grain with solubles (DDGS) replacing canola meal in precision-fed dairy heifer rations on chewing behavior, rumen pH and fill, and particle size of rumen contents and feces. A split plot design with F:C as whole plot and DDGS inclusion level as subplot was administered in a 4-period 4 × 4 Latin square. Eight rumen-cannulated Holstein heifers (12.5. ±. 0.5 mo of age and 344. ±. 15. kg of body weight, respectively) housed in individual stalls were allocated to F:C 50:50 (low forage) or 75:25 [high forage (HF); dry matter basis] and to a sequence of DDGS level (0, 7, 14, and 21%; dry matter basis). Forage was a mix of 50% corn silage and 50% grass hay (dry matter basis). Diets were fed once daily and formulated to provide equal amounts of nutrients and body weight gain. No differences were found for rumen pH between dietary treatments. Time spent eating tended to be longer for HF and was not affected by DDGS inclusion rate. Ruminating time did not differ by F:C, but linearly increased as DDGS increased (422 to 450. ±. 21 min/d). Total chewing time tended to be longer for HF and to increase linearly as DDGS increased (553 to 579. ±. 33 min/d). Wet rumen digesta weight and volume were greater for HF. Geometric mean particle length of rumen contents was greater for HF 2. h prefeeding when analyzed with solubles (particles <0.15. mm). Proportion of rumen solubles decreased as DDGS increased 5. h postfeeding. Fecal geometric mean particle length and proportion of particles >1.18. mm increased with increasing levels of DDGS and did not change with F:C. Total chewing time increased by the addition of DDGS and higher F:C. Heifers can compensate for lower physically effective neutral detergent fiber by modifying their chewing behavior. Rumen pH was never at a level that could induce acidosis, and lower eating time at lower F:C was somewhat compensated by time spent ruminating per unit of physically effective neutral detergent fiber intake. Dry distillers grains with solubles, when used in dairy heifer rations as a replacement for canola meal, yielded similar rumen digestion traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5184-5193
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of dairy science
Volume96
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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