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Effect of supplemental nutrient source on heifer growth and reproductive performance, and on utilization of corn silage-based diets by beef steers

Howlett, C.M., Vanzant, E.S., Anderson, L.H., Burris, W.R., Fieser, B.G., Bapst, R.F.
Journal of animal science 2003 v.81 no.9 pp. 2367-2378
beef cattle, biohydrogenation, breeding season, conception, corn, corn husks, corn silage, cottonseed, dietary supplements, duodenum, estrus, heifers, hulling, linoleic acid, reproductive performance, soybean hulls, soybean meal, soybeans, steers
Two experiments were conducted to determine effects of oilseeds or soybean hulls on growth and reproductive performance of heifers and utilization of corn silage diets by growing beef cattle. In Exp. 1, 96 beef heifers (249 kg of BW) were used in a randomized complete block design. Treatments were as follows: 1) corn and soybean meal (CON) at 56% of the DMI; 2) whole linted cottonseed at 15% of the DMI (COT); 3) whole raw soybeans at 15% of the DMI (SB); or 4) pelleted soyhulls at 30% of the DMI (SH). Diets were formulated to be isonitrogenous (13.8% CP) and fed to achieve target weights equal to 65% of expected mature BW at the time of AI. Estrus was synchronized and heifers were inseminated by AI in response to detected estrus. Because the energy value for SH was underestimated, cumulative ADG for SH (1.03 kg/d) was greater (P ≤ 0.03) than for CON (0.89 kg/d), COT (0.87 kg/d), or SB (0.86 kg/d). Treatment did not affect (P > 0.10) the proportion of pubertal heifers at the beginning of the breeding season: CON (60%), COT (53%), SB (69%), SH (71%), or first-service conception rates: CON (37%); COT (38%); SB (57%); SH (42%). In Exp. 2, crossbred steers (387 kg) were used in a 6 × 6 Latin square design to evaluate the effects of supplemental nutrient source on utilization of corn silage diets. Treatments included diets used in Exp. 1, plus a negative control (soybean meal at 10% of the DMI; SIL) and whole raw soybeans at 25% of the DMI (SB25). Diets were formulated to be isonitrogenous (13.8% CP) except SB25 (17% CP), and were fed twice daily at 1.8 × NEm. Oilseed inclusion decreased (P < 0.10) acetate:propionate ratios and (P < 0.10) apparent ruminal OM and ruminal and total tract NDF digestibilities. The CON and SH diets had the greatest (P < 0.10) total-tract OM digestibilities. Microbial efficiencies were greatest (P < 0.10), and long chain fatty acid flow to the duodenum increased (P < 0.10) with oilseeds. Biohydrogenation averaged 90.4% and increased slightly (P < 0.10) when oilseeds were added to the diet. Adding oilseeds or soybean hulls to corn silage-based diets did not affect reproductive performance of heifers. Although oilseed additions increased total fatty acid flow to the duodenum, a high degree of biohydrogenation occurred, greatly increasing C18:0, with only marginal increases in unsaturated fatty acid flow. Depending on diet and feeding conditions, inclusion of whole oilseeds may not be an effective means of increasing linoleic acid supply for ruminant animals.