Nitrogen metabolism and route of excretion in beef feedlot cattle fed barley-based finishing 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 finishing diets varying in protein concentration and rumen degradability. Journal of Animal Science, 91 (5): 2310-2320

Abstract

The objectives were to characterize the effects of supplemental CP concentration and ruminal degradability in barley-based finishing diets on microbial protein synthesis, ruminal fermentation and nutrient digestion, and route and chemical form of N excretion in beef cattle. Four Angus heifers (564 ± 18 kg BW) with ruminal and duodenal cannulas were used in an experiment designed as a 4 × 4 Latin square with four 28-d periods (9 d for diet adaptation and 19 d for measurements). The basal diet consisted of 9% barley silage and 91% barley-based concentrate (DM basis). Dietary treatments included the basal diet with no added protein (13% CP) or diets containing 14.5% 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). Nutrient digestion was determined using Yb as a digesta flow marker and purine N as a microbial marker with the collection of ruminal, duodenal, and fecal samples over 5 d. The next week, total collections of feces and urine were performed for 5 d to quantify route and chemical form of N excretion. Feed offered was restricted (95% of ad libitum) and there was no effect of the dietary treatments on DMI (P = 0.55); therefore, N intake was less (P < 0.05) in heifers fed the 13% CP diets than the 14.5% CP diets. Supplemental RDP and RUP had no effect on ruminal NH3 -N (P = 0.17), peptide N (P = 0.46), and VFA (P = 0.62) concentrations, flow of microbial (P = 0.69) and feed (P = 0.22) N, and ruminal and total tract nutrient digestibility (P ≥ 0.18). Nutrient digestion in the rumen and total tract averaged 75.4 ± 3.8% and 84.6 ± 0.9% for OM, 80.8 ± 3.6% and 95.8 ± 0.8% for starch, and 41.2 ± 7.9% and 60.4 ± 3.3% of intake for NDF, respectively. Daily output of N in feces (P = 0.91) and urine (P = 0.14) were not affected by the dietary treatments. Fecal N output averaged 19.9 ± 1.9% (P = 0.30) and urine N output averaged 44.1 ± 2.8% (P = 0.63) of N intake. Urea N output, however, was greater (P < 0.05) in heifers fed the 14.5% CP than the 13% CP diets and was the major form of N in urine (68.3% in heifers fed the 13% CP diet and 78.7 ± 2.9% in heifers fed the 14.5% CP diets; P < 0.10). Beef cattle fed barley-based finishing diets containing 13% CP do not require additional RDP or RUP to meet microbial or host N requirements. Barley-based finishing diets with no supplemental CP minimized urea N excretion and the potential loss of N from the system.

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