1st Page



This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 90 No. 8, p. 2754-2762
    Received: Nov 3, 2011
    Accepted: Feb 19, 2012
    Published: January 20, 2015

    2 Corresponding author(s):


Effects of different fresh-cut forages and their hays on feed intake, digestibility, heat production, and ruminal methane emission by Boer × Spanish goats1

  1. R. Puchala*,
  2. G. Animut*,
  3. A. K. Patra*,
  4. G. D. Detweiler*,
  5. J. E. Wells,
  6. V. H. Varel,
  7. T. Sahlu* and
  8. A. L. Goetsch 2
  1. American Institute for Goat Research, Langston University, Langston, OK 73050; and
    USDA-ARS, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE 68933


Twenty-four yearling Boer × Spanish wethers were used to assess effects of different forages, either fresh (Exp. 1) or as hay (Exp. 2), on feed intake, digestibilities, heat production, and ruminal methane emission. Treatments were: 1) Sericea lespedeza (SER; Lespedeza cuneata), a legume high in condensed tannins (CT; 20% and 15% in fresh forage and hay, respectively), 2) SER supplemented with polyethylene glycol (SER-PEG; 25 g/d), 3) alfalfa (Medicago sativa), a legume low in CT (ALF), and 4) sorghum-sudangrass (Sorghum bicolor), a grass low in CT (GRASS). Experiments were 22 d, which included 16 d for acclimatization followed by a 6-d period for fecal and urine collection, and gas exchange measurement (last 2 d). Intake of OM was 867, 823, 694, and 691 g/d (SEM = 20.1) with fresh forage, and 806, 887, 681, and 607 g/d with hay for SER, SER-PEG, ALF, and GRASS, respectively (SEM = 46.6). Apparent total tract N digestion was greater for SER-PEG vs. SER (P < 0.001) with fresh forage (46.3%, 66.5%, 81.7%, and 73.2%; SEM = 1.71) and hay (49.7%, 71.4%, 65.4%, and 54.8% for SER, SER-PEG, ALF, and GRASS, respectively; SEM = 1.57). Intake of ME was similar among treatments with fresh forage (8.24, 8.06, 7.42, and 7.70 MJ/d; SEM = 0.434) and with hay was greater for SER-PEG than ALF (P < 0.03) and GRASS (P < 0.001) (8.63, 10.40, 8.15, and 6.74 MJ/d for SER, SER-PEG, ALF, and GRASS, respectively; SEM = 0.655). The number of ciliate protozoa in ruminal fluid was least for SER with fresh forage (P < 0.01) (9.8, 20.1, 21.0, and 33.6 × 105/ml; SEM = 2.76) and hay (P < 0.02) (6.3, 11.4, 13.6, and 12.5 × 105/ml for SER, SER-PEG, ALF, and GRASS, respectively; SEM = 1.43). Methane emission as a percentage of DE intake was lower (P < 0.01) for SER vs. ALF and GRASS with fresh forage (6.6, 8.3, 9.4, and 9.2%; SEM = 0.64) and hay (4.3, 4.9, 6.4, and 6.7% for SER, SER-PEG, ALF, and GRASS, respectively; SEM = 0.38). In summary, methane emission in this short-term experiment was similar between a legume and grass low in CT as fresh forage and hay. The CT in SER markedly decreased N digestibility and elicited a moderate decline in ruminal methane emission. Supplementation with PEG alleviated the effect of CT on N digestibility but not ruminal methane emission, presumably because of different modes of action. In conclusion, potential of using CT-containing forage as a means of decreasing ruminal methane emission requires further study, such as with longer feeding periods.

  Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.

Copyright © 2012. American Society of Animal Science