Two studies were performed to investigate the ability of a portable near-infrared spectrophotometer (NIRS) for on-site analysis of nutrient components in feces from cattle. In trial 1 of study 1, growing dairy steers were fed diets containing either 86 or 90% concentrate. Regression values from a calibration set of 56 samples were promising for CP, DM, and NDF, but not for ADF or starch. In trial 2 of study 1, finishing dairy steers were fed diets containing either thick (512 g/L) or thin (460 g/L) steam-flaked corn. Regression values from a calibration set of 126 samples were poor for all nutrients. Both studies showed statistically valid NIRS calibrations, but further validation was required to make regression values acceptable (R2 > 0.80) for all fecal nutrient components.
In study 2, NIRS analysis was employed on novel research. Young dairy bull calves were fed diets containing either whole or steam-flaked corn from pre-weaning until 8 weeks post-weaning when the first animal was heavy enough for inclusion into a commercial feedlot. Again, although statistically valid, regression values from a calibration set of 220 samples were promising for CP and ADF, but not predictive for DM, NDF, ash, and starch. Growth performance parameters were similar between diets, with starch digestibilities diverging after weaning and changing to a Holstein starter diet.
These 2 studies show that commercial and research application of a portable NIRS for on-site analysis of the nutrient composition of feces from young, growing, and finishing dairy steers statistically possible but requires further validation research. Also, results from the second study imply that there is no advantage in feeding steam-flaked corn to dairy calves from pre-weaning to 8 weeks post-weaning or until reaching feedlot weight. However, starch digestibility begins to improve for steam-flaked corn to whole corn once the animal has been weaned.
|Advisor:||Duff, Glenn C.|
|Commitee:||Cuneo, S. Peder, Guerriero, Vincent, Limesand, Sean W., Marchello, Elaine V.|
|School:||The University of Arizona|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-B 72/07, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Digestion, Feces, Feedlots, Holstein cattles, Nutrient composition|
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