Effects of adding urea on fermentation quality of pruned persimmon branch silage and its digestibility, preference, nitrogen balance and rumen fermentation in beef cattle
Four cattle were used in a 4 × 4 Latin square design experiment to study digestibility, ruminal fermentation, nitrogen retention and preference of ensiling pruned persimmon branch (PPB) chips treated with urea. After 60 days of ensiling, urea‐treated PPB showed higher (P < 0.05) pH, acetic acid and ammonia‐N levels than no‐urea PPB. Both urea‐treated PPB and rice straw diets showed higher (P < 0.05) apparent digestibility and digestible nutrient content in cattle than no‐urea PPB diet. Neither mold nor yeast was detected in any urea‐treated PPB. Urinary and fecal excretion as well as nitrogen retention in cattle fed urea‐treated PPB were higher (P < 0.05) than in those fed no‐urea PPB and rice straw. With the exception that ruminal ammonia‐N levels in cattle fed urea‐treated PPB were higher (P < 0.05) than in those given no‐urea PPB and rice straw, ruminal pH, volatile fatty acid concentrations, and the acetic : propionic acid ratio of rumen content were unaffected by diets. The rank order of preference was rice straw > low‐urea > no‐urea > high‐urea. The results suggested that urea treatment of PPB inhibited growth of mold and yeast during silage storage, enhanced its digestibility and had nutritive value almost equivalent to that of rice straw.
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