Nutritional performance of cattle grazing on low-quality tropical forage supplemented with nitrogenous compounds and/or starch


R. Bras. Zootec.




The objective of this work was to evaluate the effects of protein and/or starch supplementation on the nutritional performance of cattle grazing on low-quality tropical forage. Five crossbred steers (Holstein × Gyr) with an average body weight (BW) of 397 kg that were fitted with ruminal and abomasal cannulae were used. The animals were kept in individual signal-grass (Bracharia decumbens) paddocks. Five treatments were evaluated: 1 - control (without supplementation); 2 - supplementation with 1 g of crude protein (CP) per kg of BW; 3 - supplementation with 2.5 g of starch per kg of BW; 4 - supplementation with CP and starch as described for treatments 2 and 3; and 5 - supplementation as described for treatment 4 but replacing the corn starch with a mixture of corn starch and nitrogenous compounds, thereby resulting in an energy supplement of 150 g CP/kg of dry matter. The experiment was performed according to a 5 × 5 Latin square design in a 2 × 2 + 1 factorial arrangement. The forage intake was not affected by any of the factors evaluated in this study. The production of microbial nitrogen in the rumen was not affected by nitrogen or starch supplementation. The apparent nitrogen balance was only increased when both starch and nitrogen were supplied. Supplementation with both starch and nitrogenous compounds for cattle grazing on low-quality tropical forage is characterized by an interactive metabolic effect that increases nitrogen accretion by the animals.

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