Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



2019 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report


Copyright © The Board Regents of the University of Nebraska.


A digestion study was conducted comparing different inclusions of corn silage used as a roughage source on digestibility, feeding behavior and rumen environment. Treatments consisted of 3 inclusions of corn silage at 0, 7.5 and 15% of the diet DM, and a control treatment with 7.5% alfalfa. As expected, increasing available energy and decreasing roughage (either silage or alfalfa) showed an increase in diet digestibility and ruminal propionate concentrations. However, average ruminal pH was least, with more time spent in subacute acidosis (pH < 5.3) when cattle were fed no roughage. These data suggest that feeding cattle increasing silage inclusions as a roughage source prevented ruminal conditions from entering and remaining in subacute acidosis. Feeding corn silage at 15% gave similar digestibility responses compared to 7.5% alfalfa. Including silage as a roughage source at 15% could help prevent acidosis and digestive upset in feedlot cattle.