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Ruminant Nutrition and Forage Utilization
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2011;24(12): 1690-1698.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2011.10437    Published online October 24, 2011.
Effects of Moisture and a Saponin-based Surfactant during Barley Processing on Growth Performance and Carcass Quality of Feedlot Steers and on In vitro Ruminal Fermentation
Y. Wang, D. Gibb, D. Greer, T. A. McAllister
Feedlot and in vitro ruminal experiments were conducted to assess the effects of saponin-containing surfactant applied during tempering of barley grain on cattle growth performance and on ruminal fermentation. In the feedlot experiment, treatments with three barley grain/barley silage based diets were prepared using barley grain at 7.7% moisture (dry, D), after tempering to 18% moisture (M), or after tempering with a saponin-based surfactant included at 60 ml/t (MS). Each treatment was rolled at settings determined previously to yield optimally processed barley. A total of 180 newly weaned BritishCharolais steers were fed three diets in 18 pens for a 63-d backgrounding period and 91-d finishing period to determine feed intake, growth rate and feed efficiency. Cattle were slaughtered at the end of the experiment to measure the carcass characteristics. Tempering reduced (p<0.001) volume weight and processing index, but processing characteristics were similar between MS and M. Tempering increased (p<0.05) growth during backgrounding only, compared with D, but did not affect feed intake in either phase. During backgrounding, feed efficiency was improved with tempering, but during finishing and overall this response was only observed with the surfactant. Tempering did not affect carcass weight, fat content or meat yield. Surfactant doubled the proportion of carcasses grading AAA. In the in vitro experiment, barley (500 mg; ground to <1.0 mm or steam-rolled) was incubated in buffered ruminal fluid (40 ml) without or with surfactant up to 20 l/g DM substrate for 24 h. Surfactant increased (p<0.05) apparent DM disappearance and starch digestibility but reduced productions of gas and the volatile fatty acid and acetate:propionate ratio, irrespective of barley particle size. Compared with feeding diets prepared with non-tempered barley, tempering with surfactant increased the feed efficiency of feedlot steers. This may have arisen from alteration in processing characteristics of barley grain by surfactant rather than its direct effect on rumen microbial fermentation.
Keywords: Barley; Feedlots; Processing; Rumen Digestion; Surfactants

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