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Effects of stage of maturity and protein supplementation on growth and nitrogen utilisation by cattle fed oat silage

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 November 2017

R. Berthiaume
Affiliation:
Agriculture & AgriFood Canada, Lennoxville, Québec, Canada J1M 1Z3Email: berthiaumer@agr.gc.ca
C. Lafrenière
Affiliation:
Agriculture & AgriFood, Canada Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada J9X 2K3Email: carole.lafreniere@uqat.qc.ca
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Cereal silages are used extensively in the diets of feedlot cattle all over western Canada. Plants are generally harvested at dough stage as this stage is believed to represent the best compromise between feeding value and dry matter yield. However, under the growing conditions of eastern Canada, where cereals are grown as cover crops, it has been argued that harvesting at the boot stage would be beneficial to the establishment of the under sown crop and could improve yields of digestible dry matter. Previous experiments have suggested that cereal silages harvested at boot stage vs soft dough stage (Acosta et al., 1991), although the former were more digestible, resulted in no benefit in terms of animal performance. Our work with grass silages (Berthiaume et al, 1996) showed that this could be due to the highly degradable nature of protein in immature silages, and that protein supplements would be beneficial. This study evaluated the effect of harvesting oats for silage at boot vs milk stage with or without the addition of a protein supplement on nitrogen utilisation and growth of calves.

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Copyright © The British Society of Animal Science 2005

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References

Acosta, Y. M., Stallings, C. C., Polan, C. E. and Miller, C. N. 1991. Evaluation of barley silage harvested at boot and soft dough stages. J. Dairy Sci. 74: 167176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berthiaume, R., Buchanan-Smith, J. G, Allen, O. B. and Veira, D. M. 1996. Prediction of liveweight gain by growing cattle fed silages of contrasting digestibility, supplemented with or without barley. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 76(1): 113119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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