Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Animal Science 2006. 84:886–893. Copyright © 2006 American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


Two experiments were conducted using 2 ruminally and duodenally fistulated steers to determine the digestibility of undegradable intake protein (UIP) of smooth bromegrass (Bromis inermis), birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus coniculatus L.), and heat-treated alfalfa (Medicago sativa) using the mobile nylon bag technique. Undegradable intake protein was determined using neutral detergent insoluble CP at a single in situ incubation time point based on 75% of the total mean retention time estimated from IVDMD plus a 10-h passage lag. In Exp. 1, UIP (% DM) of smooth bromegrass in June and July were 1.82 and 1.71, respectively (P = 0.11). Undegradable intake protein (% DM) of birdsfoot trefoil increased from 1.30 in June to 1.94 in July (P < 0.01). Total tract indigestible protein of smooth bromegrass and birdsfoot trefoil increased in July (P < 0.05). Digestibility of UIP decreased in July for smooth bromegrass (P < 0.01) but tended to increase for birdsfoot trefoil (P = 0.07). In Exp. 2, alfalfa from plots fertilized with low (66 kg of N/ha) or high (200 kg of N/ha) amounts of N were dried to simulate 3 preservation methods: dehydrated (100°C, 10 h), sun-cured (50°C, 15 h), and lyophilized (−50°C, 72 h) alfalfa. Undegradable intake protein (% DM) was estimated as in Exp. 1 and was 3.13, 2.10, and 1.84 for dehydrated, sun-cured, and lyophilized alfalfa, respectively. Total tract indigestible protein (% DM) was increased (P < 0.05) for dehydrated alfalfa (1.66) compared with sun-cured (1.54) or lyophilized (1.57) alfalfa. As a result of greater UIP flow to the lower tract, digestibility (%) of UIP was greater (P < 0.01) for dehydrated (46.4) than for sun-cured (25.6) or lyophilized (14.7) alfalfa. Heat-treated alfalfa samples increased net UIP absorption in the lower tract because 1.47, 0.56, and 0.27 percentage units of UIP (% DM) of dehydrated, sun-cured, and lyophilized alfalfa, respectively, disappeared. Overall, the digestibility of the UIP of these forages was low in the lower tract.