The objectives were to compare the effect of exogenous fibrolytic enzyme (Biocellulase A20) or anhydrous ammonia (4% DM) treatment on the nutritive value, voluntary intake, and digestion kinetics of bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon cultivar Coastal) hay harvested after 2 maturities (5- and 13-wk regrowths). Six individually housed, ruminally cannulated Brangus steers (BW 325 ± 10 kg) were used in an experiment with a 6 × 6 Latin square design with a 3 (additives) × 2 (maturities) factorial arrangement of treatments. Each period consisted of 14 d of adaptation and 7, 4, 1, 1, and 4 d for measuring in vivo digestibility, in situ degradability, no measurements, rumen liquid fermentation and passage indices, and rate of solid passage, respectively. Steers were fed hay for ad libitum intake and supplemented with sugarcane molasses and distillers grain (supplement total of 2.88 kg DM/d). Enzyme did not affect the nutritional composition of hay but ammonia treatment decreased hay NDF, hemicellulose, and ADL concentrations and increased the CP concentration particularly for the mature lignified 13-wk hay. The enzyme increased NDF and hemicellulose digestibility of the 5-wk hay but decreased those of the 13-wk hay. Ammoniation decreased intake of hay but increased digestibility of DM, OM, NDF, hemicellulose, ADF, and cellulose and increased the ruminal in situ soluble and potentially digestible fractions and the rate of DM degradation of the 13-wk hay. Also, ammoniation increased the concentrations of ruminal NH3, total VFA, acetate, and butyrate but enzyme treatment did not. Neither enzyme addition nor ammoniation affected rate of liquid and solid passage. In conclusion, ammoniation decreased the concentration of most fiber fractions, decreased the intake of hays, and increased their CP concentration, in vivo digestibility, and in situ degradability at both maturities whereas enzyme application increased fiber digestibility of the 5-wk hay but decreased it in the case of the 13-wk hay.
- Beef cattle
- Fibrolytic enzyme