Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in J. Anima. Sci. 1988. 66:237-242. Copyright 1988. Used by permission.


Two grazing trials utilizing individually supplemented yearling steers were conducted to study the effect of supplemental escape protein on steer performance during the active growth periods, spring and fall, of smooth brome (Bromus inermis). Graded levels (0, .11, .23 and .34 kg x head-1 x d-1) of an equal-protein-basis mixture of bloodmeal and corn gluten meal were offered daily, replacing corn starch, which was used as the negative control. All steers received 582 g supplemental dry matter per day. Supplementation with escape protein improved daily performance in both spring (P<.01) and fall (P<.02). Analysis of pooled data from both trials indicated a linear (P<.01) and quadratic (P<.05) increase in steer performance with increasing level of escape protein in the diet. Analysis of grass samples collected throughout and composited over each trial demonstrated that grass protein was highly degraded in the rumen. Using a modified dacron bag technique, 12-h degradability was found to be 80 to 90% of the potentially digestible protein fraction. Rates of protein degradability were 14 and 11.7%/h. Assuming 5%/h rate of passage, escape protein was calculated to be 9.2 and 13.1% of total protein. As a result of the significant growth response observed above that of the energy-supplemented controls and the high ruminat protein degradabilities of the grass observed in the laboratory, it was concluded that growing ruminants grazing actively growing smooth brome pastures were deficient in metabolizable protein.