Research: Flax in beef diets
Researchers at North Dakota University in Fargo, studied the effect of flax grain inclusion on rumen fermentation, digestion, and microbial protein synthesis in growing and finishing diets for beef cattle.
Four Holstein steers fitted with ruminal and duodenal cannulae were used to evaluate the effects of flax inclusion in diets for growing and finishing cattle on intake, ruminal fermentation, and site of digestion.
Flax at 80 g/kg of dietary DM in growing and finishing diets replaced linseed meal and a portion of the corn.
Data were were collected on the main effects of ration type (growing or finishing) and flax inclusion (with or without flax). Diets were formulated to contain 140 g/kg CP for growing and finishing.
No differences were observed for DM intake (10.2 ± 0.54 kg/d; 2.4 ± 0.09% of BW). Flax inclusion decreased microbial organic matter flow at the duodenum .
Total tract organic matter digestion was greater for steers fed finishing diets and apparent ruminal organic matter digestibility tended to be greater for steers fed finishing diets.
Steers consuming finishing diets had greater total tract crude protein digestion.
Microbial efficiency was not affected by diet type or flax inclusion.
Steers fed growing diets had greater ruminal aNDF and ADF digestion. Steers consuming flax had lower ruminal ammonia.
There was no effect of flax on CP, aNDF, ADF, and OM ruminal and total tract digestion.
Results indicate that substituting 8% flax for part of corn and linseed meal in growing and finishing diets by beef cattle did not alter OM and CP digestion.
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