Supplemental cracked corn for steers fed fresh alfalfa: II. Protein and amino acid digestion

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of different levels of cracked corn on N intake, ruminal bacterial CP synthesis, and duodenal flows and small intestinal digestion of amino acids (AA) in steers fed fresh alfalfa indoors were determined. Angus steers (n = 6; average BW 338 ± 19 kg) cannulated in the rumen, duodenum, and ileum were fed each of five diets over five periods in a Latin square design with an extra animal. Steers consumed 1) alfalfa (20.4% CP, 41.6% NDF) ad libitum (AALF); 2), 3), and 4) AALF supplemented (S) with three levels of corn (.4, .8, or 1.2% of BW, respectively), or 5) alfalfa restricted (RALF) to the average forage intake of S steers. Average N intake and duodenal flow of nonammonia N (NAN) were greater (P < .01) in S than in RALF steers. Greater duodenal flows of NAN in S compared with RALF were due to a trend toward higher (P = .06) flows of both bacterial and dietary N. Levels of corn decreased (P < .01) linearly N intake and increased (P < .01) linearly duodenal flow of NAN owing to a numerical linear increase in nonbacterial N (P = .15) with no increase in bacterial N flow. Duodenal NAN flows as percentages of N intake increased (P < .01) linearly (69.3 to 91.0%) as corn increased. Ruminal NH3 N concentration, ruminal CP degradability, and the proportion of bacterial N in duodenal NAN were decreased (P < .01) linearly as corn increased. Efficiency of net microbial CP synthesis was not affected (P > .05) by treatment (average 42.6 and 30.9 g N/kg of OM apparently or truly digested in the rumen, respectively). Small intestinal disappearance of total N and individual AA, except for threonine and lysine, and small intestinal digestibility of N and individual AA, except for methionine, histidine, and proline, increased (P < .01) linearly with level of corn and were greater (P < .01) in S than in RALF steers. Supplementing corn to steers fed fresh alfalfa reduced ruminal N losses and CP degradability and increased the duodenal flow and the small intestinal disappearance and digestibility of total N and total, essential, and nonessential AA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999


  • Alfalfa
  • Digestion
  • Nitrogen
  • Steers
  • Supplementation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Supplemental cracked corn for steers fed fresh alfalfa: II. Protein and amino acid digestion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this