1. Two experiments were carried out with sheep and cattle receiving high-concentrate rations to estimate the amount of digestion taking place in the rumino-reticulum and omasum. Two techniques were used for the collection of samples of abomasal contents. In the experiment with sheep, animals were slaughtered at different times after feeding and samples of digesta were collected. In the experiment with cattle, samples were collected through an abomasal fistula at 2 h intervals throughout the entire 24 h. Chromic oxide powder was incorporated into the ration.
2. Digestion of DM in the rumen estimated by the chromic oxide ratio ranged from 36 to –7%. Estimates based on the lignin ratio ranged from 57 to 68%. Estimates based on lignin as the marker were more consistent within experiments.
3. Starch digestion in the rumen based on the chromic oxide ratio ranged from 56 to 92% while estimates based on the lignin ratio ranged from 89 to 96%. The amount of starch digested, according to chromic oxide ratios, was up to 500 g more than estimated organic matter digested in sheep, and up to 2 kg more than organic matter digested in cattle, both impossible results. Estimates based on lignin were always less than estimated dry-matter digestion.
4. In view of the untenable results obtained by using chromic oxide powder mixed in the ration as an indigestible marker, while lignin in the same samples always yielded credible results, it appears that chromic oxide is not always a suitable marker for estimating rumen digestion from abomasal samples.