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Chilean journal of agricultural research

On-line version ISSN 0718-5839


BODAS, Raúl et al. Ruminal pH and temperature, papilla characteristics, and animal performance of fattening calves fed concentrate or maize silage-based diets. Chilean J. Agric. Res. [online]. 2014, vol.74, n.3, pp.280-285. ISSN 0718-5839.

Feeding systems can play an important role, not only in beef farm profitability but also in animal health and performance. Fourteen Avilena-Negra Iberica bulls, with an initial weight of 270 kg (SE 22.6 kg) and aged 223 d (SE 16.2) were used to study the effect of two feeding systems on ruminal pH and temperature and animal performance when calves were kept in loose housing conditions. Feeding systems were barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) grain-based concentrate plus barley straw (CONC) and maize (Zea mays L.) silage-based total mixed ration (TMR). Internal wireless boluses were used to collect pH and temperature values every 10 min throughout the measurement period (15 d). Diet did not modify (P > 0.10) average daily gain, carcass weight, dressing percentage, ruminal mucosa color, or papilla counts. Papilla width and papilla width/lamina propria thickness were significantly lower (P < 0.05) in TMR than in CONC animals. Time spent below ruminal pH thresholds of 7.0, 6.6, 6.2, and 5.8 and the corresponding areas under the curve were higher (P < 0.05) for animals fed under the TMR system. No significant changes were observed between experimental treatments in parameters related to ruminal temperature or estimated number of times that the animals were drinking during the day (P > 0.10). Although animal performance is not affected, feeding fattening calves on a concentrate plus barley straw diet can result in better rumen conditions than using maize silage-based TMR.

Keywords : Acidosis; feeding system; monitoring; rumen; total mixed ration.

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