Energy value of elephantgrass at different regrowth ages and estimate of in vivo neutral detergent fiber digestibility

This work was carried out to compare the energy (TDN) value of elephantgrass harvest at different regrowth ages with those estimated by NRC equations and evaluate neutral detergent fiber (NDF) incubation time, that represents in vivo digestibility. Four steers with average initial weight of 320kg were fed elephantgrass harvested at 33, 48, 63, 78 and 93 regrowth ages. Energy value of elephantgrass at different ages was calculated by using chromic oxide to obtain fecal dry matter production, and NDT values were estimated by NRC equations. Parameter validation method was obtained by fitting the simple linear regression model on the observed values. An in situ degradation trial, by using incubation times of 6 ,12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 96, 120 and 144 hours, was performed to determine dry matter (DM) and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) degradability. NDF, crude protein (CP) and ether extract (EE) digestible fractions and NDT values were underestimated by NRC equations, and nonfiber carbohydrates (NFC) values were similar to the observed ones. The best correlation between in situ incubation time and in vivo NDF digestibility was at 72 hours. NRC equations were not efficient to estimate elephantgrass energy value. It is suggested the in situ incubation for 72 hours to determine NDF digestible fraction of elephantgrass.

elephantgrass; energy value; degradability; total digestible nutrients; equations

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