Performance and Digestion by Steers Grazing Tall Fescue and Supplemented with Energy and Protein

J. C. Elizalde, J. D. Cremin, D. B. Faulkner, N. R. Merchen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We studied the effects of different levels of protein and energy supplementation on BW gains and sites of nutrient digestion in steers grazing the primary growth of endophyte-infected tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb cv. Kentucky 31). Angus steers (n = 168; mean BW = 246.8 ± 15.0 kg) grazed tall fescue without supplementation (C) or were supplemented with 1.4 kg/d of cracked corn (CC1), 1.4 kg/d of corn gluten feed (CGF1), 2.8 kg/d of CC (CC2), 2.8 kg/d of CGF (CGF2), or .7 kg/d of cornstarch and .7 kg/d of corn gluten meal (CS-CGM) during an 85-d period in a randomized complete block design. Supplemented steers (S) had a higher (P = .03) ADG than the control steers (.64 vs .74 kg/d). There was an interaction (P = .02) between supplement type and level. Supplementation during the grazing period had no effect on subsequent feedlot ADG (average 1.3 kg/d). In a digestion study, Angus × Simmental steers (n = 4; 412 ± 20.4 kg) fitted with cannulas in the esophagus, rumen, and duodenum grazed tall fescue (C), C + 3.1 kg/d CGF, C + 3.1 kg/d of cracked corn (CC), or C + 1.4 kg/d CS-CGM over four experimental periods in a Latin square design. The ruminal ammonia nitrogen concentration tended to be higher (P < .09) in C than in CGF and in CC (21.9 vs 19.2 mg/dL), but ruminal pH and total VFA concentration did not differ among treatments. Forage OM intakes were lower (P < .05) in steers supplemented with CC or CGF (an average of 7,570 g/d) than in C (9,658 g/d). Total OM intakes and digestibilities did not differ (P > .10) among treatments. Duodenal N flows and efficiencies of net ruminal microbial protein synthesis were not different (P > .10) among treatments. Supplementation of steers grazing primary growth of tall fescue improved animal gain but did not have a great effect on ruminal fermentation, OM digestion, or net ruminal microbial protein synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1691-1701
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998


  • Energy
  • Festuca arundinacea
  • Grazing
  • Protein
  • Steers
  • Supplements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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