Nitrogen metabolism and route of excretion in beef feedlot cattle fed barley-based backgrounding diets varying in protein concentration and rumen degradability.

Koenig, K.M. and Beauchemin, K.A. (2013). "Nitrogen metabolism and route of excretion in beef feedlot cattle fed barley-based backgrounding diets varying in protein concentration and rumen degradability.", Journal of Animal Science, 91(5), pp. 2295-2309. doi : 10.2527/jas.2012-5652  Access to full text

Abstract

The objectives of the study were to characterize the effects of CP concentration and ruminal degradability of barley-based backgrounding diets on route and chemical form of N excretion, ruminal fermentation, microbial protein synthesis, and nutrient digestion in beef cattle. Four Angus heifers (479 ± 14.6 kg average BW) with ruminal and duodenal cannulas were used in an experiment designed as a 4 × 4 Latin square. The basal diet consisted of 54% barley silage and 46% barley grain-based concentrate (DM basis). Dietary treatments included the basal diet with no added protein (12% CP) or diets formulated to contain 14% CP by supplementation with urea (UREA), urea and canola meal (UREA+CM) or urea, corn gluten meal, and xylose-treated soybean meal (UREA+CGM+xSBM). The amount of feed offered was restricted to 95% of ad libitum intake. There was no effect of the diets on DMI (P = 0.38) and, therefore, N intake was lower (P < 0.05) in heifers fed the 12% CP diets than the 14% CP diets. Fecal N output was not affected by the diet (P = 0.15), but urine N (P < 0.10) and urea N output were greater (P < 0.05) in heifers fed the 14% CP than the 12% CP diets. There was no effect of CP degradability (P > 0.10) on the amount of urine N output. Urine N output was 38.9 and 45.1 ± 5.50% of N intake in heifers fed the 12% CP and 14% CP diets (P < 0.05), respectively. Urea N, the form of N most susceptible to NH3-N volatilization and loss, was the major form of N in urine (75.5% in heifers fed the 12% CP diet and 81.4 ± 1.7% in heifers fed the 14% CP diets; P < 0.05). Supplemental RDP (UREA+CM) and RUP combined with urea (UREA+CGM+xSBM) to provide 14% CP increased (P < 0.05) ruminal NH3-N, but had no effect on ruminal peptide N (P = 0.62) and free AA N (P = 0.18) concentration, the flow of microbial (P = 0.34) and feed (P = 0.55) N, and ruminal (starch, P = 0.11; NDF, P = 0.78) and total tract nutrient digestibility (OM, P = 0.21; starch, P = 0.16). Supplementation of barley-based backgrounding diets containing 12% CP with NPN alone or combined with ruminally degradable and undegradable true protein to attain 14% CP had no effect on fecal N output, but urine N and urea N increased irrespective of protein source. In addition, the ruminal degradability of the protein sources did not influence the composition of protein flowing to the intestine, and site and extent of nutrient digestibility.

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