Intake and digestibility in cattle under grazing supplemented with nitrogenous compounds during dry season

Consumo e digestibilidade em bovinos em pastejo durante o período seco recebendo suplementação com compostos nitrogenados

The objective of this work was to evaluate the effects of supplementation with nitrogenous compounds on intake and digestibility in cattle under grazing during dry season. It was used five Holstein × Zebu steers with average initial live weight of 236 kg, kept in five Brachiaria decumbens Stapf. paddocks (0.34 ha). The experiment was carried out according to a 5 × 5 Latin square design, with five supplementation levels and five experimental periods. The supplementation levels were the following: 0; 0.35; 0.70; 1.05, and 1.40 g of crude protein/kg live weight. A mixture of urea, ammonium sulfate and albumin (4.5:0.5:1.0, respectively) was used as nitrogen supplement. The average crude protein levels in the diet were 7.39; 8.92; 10.98; 12.55; and 13.62%, as dry matter basis, for the respective supplementation levels. Linear-response-plateau relationships were observed between intake estimates and diet crude protein levels. The linear-response-plateau pattern showed that intake was increased up to crude protein levels close to 9%, as dry matter basis. The estimates became unchangeable from this level. The total and ruminal digestibility coefficients of dry matter and neutral detergent fiber, and diet level of total digestible nutrients presented a positive linear pattern according to diet crude protein levels. The rumen ammonia nitrogen concentration was linearly increased by diet crude protein levels. This variable assumed the value of 8.00 mg/dL when the intake estimates reached the maximum values. Supplementation with nitrogen compounds in quantities that raise the crude protein content in the diet to levels close to 9% optimizes the use of low-quality forage by cattle under grazing.

microbial nitrogen; rumen ammonia nitrogen; supplementation; urea

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