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Effect of monensin inclusion on intake, digestion, and ruminal fermentation parameters by Bos taurus indicus and Bos taurus taurus steers consuming bermudagrass hay

Natasha L. Bell, Robin C. Anderson, Todd R. Callaway, Marcia O. Franco, Jason E. Sawyer, Tryon A. Wickersham
Journal of animal science 2017 v.95 no.6 pp. 2736-2746
0021-8812; 1525-3163
Cynodon dactylon, acetates, ammonia, ammonium nitrogen, cannulas, cross-over studies, digestibility, feed conversion, forage, hay, methane, methane production, monensin, pH, propionic acid, rumen fermentation, rumen fluids, steers
Effects of monensin inclusion and cattle subspecies on utilization of bermudagrass hay (13.7% CP, 77.3% NDF, and 38.8% ADF) were evaluated using ruminally cannulated steers (5 Bos taurus indicus [BI] and 5 Bos taurus taurus [BT]; 398 kg BW). Subspecies were concurrently subjected to a 2-period, 2-treatment crossover design. Treatments were 0 (CON) or 200 mg·steer**-1·d**-1 monensin (MON) in 0.91 kg dried distillers’ grains with solubles. Periods were 70 d in length: 20 d of adaptation, 22 d of sample collection, and 28 d for withdrawal of treatment. Steers were group housed during adaptation and moved to individual covered pens for sampling. Hay, ort, and fecal grab samples were collected d 21 through 25 for determination of intake and digestion. Ruminal fluid was collected with a suction strainer 0, 2, 4, 8, and 12 h after feeding on d 42 for pH, VFA, and ruminal NH3–N (RAN) analysis. Additionally, at h 2, ruminal fluid and contents were collected for determination of rate of NH3 production and CH4 production rate. No subspecies × monensin interactions were observed (P greater than or equal to 0.12). Monensin had no effect (P greater than or equal to 0.16) on intake or digestibility parameters. No subspecies effect (P greater than or equal to 0.11) was observed for forage OM intake, total OM intake, or OM digestion. Total digestible OM intake tended to be greater (P = 0.06) for BT steers than for BI steers (14.0 vs. 12.2 g/kg BW). There was an effect of hour after feeding (P less than or equal to 0.01) on pH, total VFA, acetate:propionate ratio, and molar percent acetate and propionate. Total VFA concentration was greater (P = 0.01) in CON steers than in MON steers (66.5 vs. 62.0 mM). Monensin decreased molar percent acetate (P = 0.02) from 72.5 to 71.2% and increased molar percent propionate (P < 0.01) from 16.9 to 18.7%, resulting in a reduced (P < 0.01) acetate:propionate ratio (from 4.34 to 3.85). Although not significantly (P = 0.19), monensin numerically reduced the CH4 production rate by 15.8%. Greater (P = 0.07) CH4 production rate tended to be observed in BI steers than in BT steers (21.4 vs. 16.6 µmol CH4·mL**-1·h**-1, respectively). Monensin had no effect (P greater than or equal to 0.32) on pH, RAN, or rate of NH3 production. A subspecies × hour after feeding interaction was observed for RAN, with BT having greater RAN at h 0 and 4, whereas BI had greater RAN at h 2, 8, and 12. Overall, monensin decreased the acetate:propionate ratio and total VFA concentration but had no effect on forage utilization. Bos taurus indicus steers consumed less digestible OM and had a greater CH4 production rate compared with BT steers, suggesting BT were better able to utilize the available forage resource than BI.