Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Document Type


Date of this Version



Thesis (M.S.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1971. Department of Animal Science.


Copyright 1971, the author. Used by permission.


The influence of treatment of corn silage with sodium hydroxide at ensiling time upon subsequent animal performance and ration digestibility was investigated. The influence upon rumen fermentation of sodium and potassium hydroxide additions to raw and gelatinized corn based finishing rations was also explored.

Performance and metabolism studies with steers were conducted with corn silage treated with 4% sodium hydroxide and supplemented with either soybean meal or urea.Organic matter digestibility of the treated corn silage was significantly increased as compared to the control silage.The steers fed the treated corn silage tended to gain more, consume more feed and required less feed per unit gain than steers fed control silage.Soybean meal increased nitrogen retention and animal weight gain as compared to urea supplementation for both the sodium hydroxide and the control corn silage.

A series of four fermentation studies with fistulated lambs was conducted to determine the effect of added sodium and potassium hydroxides upon rumen fermentation when gelatinized corn based finishing rations were fed.Gelatinized corn was substituted in a 90% concentrate ration for raw corn at levels from 50% to 30% of the concentrate in the ration.Sodium and potassium hydroxides were added to maintain a 1:1 ratio of Na:K at 0, 1, 2, or 3% of the air dry ration.The results indicate that gelatinized corn significantly decreased ruminal pH, while effecting an increase in ruminal lactic acid concentrations and total volatile fatty acids as compared to raw corn based rations.The addition of sodium and potassium hydroxides to gelatinized corn containing rations consistently increased ruminal pH and total volatile fatty acids, while significantly decreasing concentration of ruminal lactic acid.In addition, there was a widening of the acetate to propionate ratio.The addition of 3% sodium and potassium hydroxides to a raw corn control diet did not significantly alter rumen fermentation. Although not significant, hydroxide additions to gelatinized corn based rations tended to increase feed consumption over the control rations.

Advisor: Walter R. Woods