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Journal of Animal Science Abstract -

Effects of barley grain processing on the site and extent of digestion of beef feedlot finishing diets.


This article in

  1. Vol. 79 No. 7, p. 1925-1936


  1. K A Beauchemin,
  2. W Z Yang and
  3. L M Rode
  1. Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge, AB, Canada.


Effects of extent of barley rolling on chewing activities, ruminal fermentation, and site and extent of digestion were evaluated for feedlot finishing cattle diets in a 4 x 4 Latin square design. Four Jersey steers (452 kg), cannulated in the rumen and duodenum, were used. Barley grain was temper-rolled to four extents: coarse, medium, medium-flat, and flat, which were expressed as processing index (PI, volume weight of barley after processing expressed as a percentage of its volume weight before processing, DM basis) and equivalent to 82, 75, 70, and 65%, respectively. Diets consisted of 9.7% barley silage, 86% temper-rolled barley, and 4.3% other ingredients (DM basis). Steers were offered ad libitum access to a total mixed ration once daily. Dry matter intake was not affected (P > 0.15) by PI of barley. Digestibility of OM in the rumen and in the total tract were numerically lower (P = 0.13) for steers fed coarsely rolled barley than for steers fed more extensively processed barley. Digestibility of starch in the total tract was linearly increased (P = 0.02) with grain processing, but NDF digestion was not affected by processing (P > 0.15). Digestibility of CP did not differ in the rumen but tended (P = 0.08) to increase in the total tract with increased processing of barley. Flow of microbial nitrogen to the duodenum was approximately one-third lower (linear effect, P = 0.06) for steers fed coarsely rolled barley than for steers fed further rolled barley. Increased grain processing tended to decrease (linear effect, P = 0.08) rumination time without affecting eating time. These results indicate that optimal degree of rolling for barley fed to feedlot cattle corresponded to a PI of 75% or lower. Coarsely rolled barley is not recommended because it resulted in the lowest digestibility and lowest microbial protein synthesis. Processing barley to attain a PI less than 75% resulted in marginal improvements in feed digestion, but rumination time decreased, which could lead to problems associated with acidosis if lower-fiber diets are used.

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