Matua bromegrass (Bromus willdenowii Kunth. cv. Grasslands Matua) was introduced in 1973, but little information exists concerning its potential as a hay for horses. Thus, voluntary intake and apparent digestibility of OM, CP, and fiber components of Matua by 18 Quarter Horse yearlings (mean initial BW 354 kg; SE 5.8) were compared with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) and coastal bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L.) as hays in a randomized block design. A 15-d adjustment period was followed by a 5-d collection period during which the hays were consumed ad libitum. Voluntary intake of DM was greater (P < .01) for alfalfa (10.9 kg/d) than for the mean of the grasses, and intake of Matua (10.0 kg/d) was greater (P < .001) than that of bermudagrass (7.4 kg/d). Apparent digestibility of OM was greater (P < .001) for alfalfa (74%) than for the mean of the grasses but did not differ between Matua (64%) and bermudagrass (60%). At the end of the digestion trial, each yearling was offered each of the three forage hays during an 11-d period to determine subsequent preference and effect of previous hay experience. Yearlings preferred alfalfa over the grass hays and generally selected more Matua than bermudagrass. All yearlings consumed less of the forage species to which they had been previously exposed compared with unadapted yearlings. The Matua hay fed in this trial was palatable and met most of the nutritional needs for yearling horses.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of animal science|
|State||Published - Oct 1999|