Performance of growing beef cattle consuming bahiagrass hay treated with calcium oxide and molasses

Francine M. Ciriaco, Darren D. Henry, Carla D. Sanford, Luara B. Canal, Jose C.B. Dubeux, Nicolas Dilorenzo

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Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of Pensacola bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) hay treated with calcium oxide (CaO) and molasses on performance of growing beef cattle supplemented or not with cottonseed meal. In Exp. 1, growing Bos indicus influenced heifers (n = 59; 250 ± 29 kg body weight [BW]) and steers (n = 37; 256 ± 45 kg BW) were used. In Exp. 2, heifers (n = 56; 249 ± 26 kg BW) and steers (n = 8; 249 ± 20 kg BW) from Exp. 1 were used. Both experiments were randomized complete block designs and consisted of 56-d periods in which cattle were weighed every 14 d. On day 0, cattle were weighed after a 16-h water and feed withdrawal, stratified by sex, breed, and BW, and blocked by initial BW. Cattle were allotted to 24 and 16 dormant bahiagrass pastures (1.34 ha each) in Exp. 1 and Exp. 2, respectively. Pastures were located in two different areas within 0.52 km of each other and were stratified by location and randomly assigned (n = 8 pastures/treatment) to treatment. In Exp. 1 treatments were: 1) untreated dry hay (DH); 2) hay treated with 10% molasses (dry matter [DM] basis) + water (to 65% DM; MOL); or 3) hay treated with 5% CaO (DM basis) + 10% molasses (DM basis) + water (to 65% DM; CAO). In Exp. 2 only treatments MOL and CAO were applied, and cottonseed meal was provided at 0.3% of cattle BW/d (as fed basis). In both experiments, data were analyzed using pasture as the experimental unit. The model included the fixed effects of treatment, sex, and their interaction (Exp. 1). Location and block were included as random effects. In both experiments, initial and final BW were not affected by treatment (P ≥ 0.362 and P ≥ 0.283, respectively) or sex (P ≥ 0.512 and P ≥ 0.495, respectively) and no treatment × sex interaction was observed in Exp. 1 (P > 0.05). Additionally, no effects of treatment (P ≥ 0.515), sex (P ≥ 0.285), or treatment × sex interaction (Exp. 1; P = 0.582) were observed on average daily gain (average of-0.03 kg in Exp. 1 and 0.537 kg in Exp. 2). Bahiagrass hay treated with molasses alone or in combination with CaO failed to improve performance of growing beef cattle. However, when protein supplementation via cottonseed meal was provided, cattle did not experience weight loss.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbertxab195
JournalTranslational Animal Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • alkali treatment
  • bahiagrass hay
  • beef cattle
  • cottonseed meal
  • molasses
  • performance


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