In vitro and in sacco digestion offers a rapid and inexpensive method for evaluating nutritive value of ruminant feedstuffs. This study compared the conventional freeze dried and ground (FD) preparation with chopping to 6-mm lengths (C) and mincing (M) to represent chewed forage. In sacco and in vitro comparisons were made with perennial ryegrass (RG), white clover (WC) and Lotus corniculatus (LC). The mean proportions of large (>1.0mm) and soluble dry matter (DM) for the three forages were: M, 0.38 and 0.44; C, 0.76 and 0.21; FD, 0.35 and 0.34 respectively. Disappearance of DM and crude protein (CP) during the first 12 hours of rumen incubation was substantially lower for chopped forages. Minimal lag times before the onset of protein degradation were observed following mincing. Yields of ammonia from proteolysis in in vitro incubations were lowest for C and usually highest for M preparations. Preparation also affected yield but not proportions of VFA. These data show that ranking of forages for digestibility is affected by preparation and mincing appears to be a more suitable preparation for assays than chopping and freeze drying and grinding.

LG, Barrell, JL Burke, GC Waghorn, GT Attwood, and IM Brookes

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 60, Hamilton, 5-8, 2000
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