Effects of supplemental degradable intake protein on utilization of medium- to low-quality forages

C. P. Mathis, R. C. Cochran, J. S. Heldt, B. C. Woods, I. E.O. Abdelgadir, K. C. Olson, E. C. Titgemeyer, E. S. Vanzant

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96 Scopus citations


Three independent experiments were conducted each using 16 ruminally fistulated beef steers fed bermudagrass (8.2% CP, 71% NDF; Exp. 1), bromegrass (5.9% CP, 65% NDF; Exp. 2), or forage sorghum (4.3% CP, 60% NDF; Exp. 3) hays to evaluate the effects of increasing level of supplemental degradable intake protein (DIP) on forage utilization. In each experiment, steers were blocked by weight and assigned to one of four treatments, and hay was offered to each steer at 130% of average voluntary intake for the preceding 5-d period. Supplemental DIP (sodium caseinate) was placed in the rumen at 0700, immediately before feeding forage. Levels of DIP supplementation were .041, .082, and .124% BW; the control received no supplemental DIP. Following a 10-d adaptation, intake and total fecal output were measured for 7 d. In Exp. 1, neither forage OM intake (FOMI) nor fiber (NDF) digestion were influenced (P ≥ .20) by increasing level of DIP supplementation. The DIP supplied by the bermudagrass hay was estimated to be 8.2% of the total digestible OM intake (TDOMI) for control steers. In Exp. 2, increasing level of supplemental DIP did not affect (P ≥ .26) FOMI but tended to increase total OM intake linearly (TOMI; P = .10). The tendency for a rise in TOMI coupled with a slight numeric increase in digestion resulted in an increase (linear; P = .06) in TDOMI. In the treatment group in which the maximum TDOMI was observed (supplemental DIP treatment of .082% BW), total DIP intake constituted approximately 9.8% of the TDOMI. In Exp. 3, FOMI, TOMI, organic matter digestion (OMD), and TDOMI were improved (P < .01) by increasing amounts of supplemental DIP. Although there was some evidence of a tendency for a decrease in the magnitude of change in TDOMI in response to increasing DIP supplementation, a clear plateau was not achieved with the levels of supplement provided. When the highest level of supplemental DIP was fed, DIP constituted approximately 12.8% of the TDOMI. In conclusion, significant variation was observed among forage in the amount of DIP needed to maximize intake and digestion when expressed in relationship to the digestible OM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-232
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000


  • Beef Cattle
  • Digestibility
  • Forage
  • Intake
  • Protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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