Nutrient digestibility and energy value of sheep rations differing in protein level, main protein source and non-forage fibre source

Ch Milis, D Liamadis
Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 2008, 92 (1): 44-52
Two in vivo digestion trials were conducted to evaluate the effects of diet's crude protein (CP) level, N degradability, and non-forage fibre source (NFFS) on nutrient digestibility and energy value of sheep rations. In each trial, rams were fed four isocaloric and isofibrous rations, differing in main protein and/or NFFS source. At the first trial, mean CP/metabolizable energy (ME) ratio of the diets was 17 g/MJ ME and at the second trial, 13 g/MJ ME. At both trials, the first ration contained cotton seed cake (CSC) and wheat bran (WB), the second CSC and corn gluten feed (CGF), the third corn gluten meal (CGM) and WB and the fourth CGM and CGF. Data of both trials were analysed in common as 2 x 2 x 2 factorial experimental design. Low N degradability (CGM) had positive effect on CP, neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and acid detergent fibre (ADF) digestibility of the ration. Those results suggest that an increase in rumen undegradable protein (RUP) content does not negatively affect nutrient digestibility of sheep rations. Corn gluten feed significantly elevated crude fibre (CF) digestibility, in comparison with WB. Rations having high CP/ME ratio had higher digestibility of CP in comparison with those having low CP/ME ratio; the opposite was true for ether extract, CF, NDF and ADF digestibilities. CP level x N degradability interaction negatively affected energy value of the rations that had high CP level and high N degradability. Former suggest that when CP content is high then N degradability should be low otherwise ration's ME is negatively affected. CP digestibility and coefficient q of the rations containing WB and having high N degradability (N degradability x NFFS interaction) were the lowest suggesting that the combination of CSC and WB negatively affected CP digestibility and energy value of the ration. This could be explained by a reduced microbial CP synthesis, or lower RUP digestibility or both.

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