Date of this Version
Two finishing trials and a metabolism trial were conducted to evaluate the effect of forage source and particle size in dry-rolled corn finishing diets. In Exp. 1, 224 crossbred yearling steers (BW = 342 ± 11 kg) were used in a randomized complete block design consisting of seven treatments. Treatments were an all-concentrate diet or diets containing equal NDF levels provided by alfalfa hay or wheat straw (three treatments each) with each forage source ground to pass through a .95-, 7.6-, or 12.7-cm screen. Steers fed diets containing forage had greater ( P < .05) DMI than steers fed an all concentrate diet. Steers fed alfalfa diets gained faster ( P < .05) with a greater ( P < .05) concentrate efficiency than steers fed either all-concentrate or straw diets. In Exp. 2, 120 crossbred yearling steers (BW = 307 ± 2 kg) were used in a completely randomized design and fed dry-rolled corn diets containing 10% alfalfa ground to pass through either a .95- or 7.6-cm screen. Alfalfa particle size had no effect on performance or carcass measurements. In Exp. 3, six ruminally fistulated steers (BW = 508 ± 34 kg) were used in a 6 x 6 Latin square design and fed an all-concentrate diet or diets containing equal NDF levels provided by alfalfa hay, wheat straw, or ground corncobs with alfalfa and straw ground to pass through either a 2.54- or 12.7-cm screen. Steers fed straw diets spent more time ( P < .10) chewing than those receiving the other diets. In conclusion, forage particle size had no effect on finishing cattle performance or ruminal metabolism data. However, cattle consuming different forage sources in dry-rolled corn finishing diets may not respond similarly in animal performance.