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A nutritional evaluation of common barley varieties grown for silage by beef and dairy producers in western Canada

Nair, Jayakrishnan, Christensen, David, Yu, Peiqiang, Beattie, Aaron D., McAllister, Tim, Damiran, Daalkhaijav, Preston, Natalie, Fuhr, Leland, McKinnon, John J.
Canadian journal of animal science 2016 v.96 no.4 pp. 598-608
barley, beef, beef cattle, detergents, digestibility, falcons, neutral detergent fiber, pH, silage, starch, Canada
This study evaluated the nutritional and neutral detergent fiber digestibility (NDFD) characteristics of seven barley varieties (‘Conlon’, ‘CDC Copeland’, ‘CDC Cowboy’, ‘Falcon’, ‘Legacy’, ‘AC Metcalfe’, and ‘Xena’) grown for silage. Commercial samples (n = 80) harvested at the mid-dough stage were collected over 2 years (2012 and 2013). Average pH and dry matter (DM) content were 4.05% ± 0.17% and 36.8% ± 4.1%, respectively. ‘Falcon’ and ‘AC Metcalfe’ had higher (P < 0.05) CP relative to ‘CDC Copeland’ and ‘Xena’, with intermediate values for the other varieties. Acid (ADF) and neutral (NDF) detergent fiber contents were higher (P < 0.05) for ‘CDC Cowboy’ relative to ‘Conlon’. Starch was higher (P < 0.05) for ‘Legacy’ and ‘Conlon’ than ‘CDC Cowboy’, with intermediate values for other varieties. Legacy had a greater (P < 0.05) 6-h NDFD while ‘CDC Cowboy’ had a greater (P < 0.05) 30-h NDFD. Indigestible NDF (INDF; % NDF) was greater (P < 0.05) for ‘AC Metcalfe’ relative to ‘CDC Cowboy’ and ‘Falcon’. These results indicate that barley varieties vary with respect to chemical composition and NDFD and INDF contents. Selection for higher 30-h NDFD could result in improvements in DM and DE intake and performance of growing beef cattle.