Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #264197

Title: Effect of time of cutting and maceration on forage composition, nutrient flow, microbial protein synthesis, and digestibility in dual-flow continuous culture

item Kokko, Carolyn
item Soder, Kathy
item Brito, Andre
item Hovey, Russ
item Berthiaume, Robert

Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/5/2011
Publication Date: 5/4/2011
Citation: Kokko, C., Soder, K.J., Brito, A.F., Hovey, R., Berthiaume, R. 2011. Effect of time of cutting and maceration on forage composition, nutrient flow, microbial protein synthesis, and digestibility in dual-flow continuous culture. Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Animal Science. p. 12.

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: Maceration and evening-cutting are two forage management techniques that have improved forage quality and nutrient utilization in ruminants independently, but have not been evaluated in combination. Using a dual-flow continuous culture fermenter system, this study evaluated the individual and combined effects of both time of cutting and maceration on hay composition, ruminal digestion, nutrient flows, and microbial protein synthesis. Forages were harvested as hay from a mixed timothy-birdsfoot trefoil field at the late bud stage either in the morning (AM) or evening (PM). Half of each morning- and evening-cut treatment was macerated (AM-M, PM-M). Forages were ground to 2 mm and allocated to separate fermenters at 60 g of dry matter (DM)/d in a 4 x 4 Latin square design. Fermenters were operated over 4, 10-d periods with the first 7 d for adaptation followed by 3 d of sampling. Evening-cutting significantly enhanced the apparent digestibility of neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber, and significantly increased total volatile fatty acids (VFA) concentration. Molar proportions of individual VFA were not affected by time of cutting. When expressed as percentage of total N flows, a tendency for increased bacterial N flow and decreased dietary N flow was recorded in evening-cut treatments. Maceration had no effect on nutrient digestibility, however, maceration significantly reduced total VFA concentration and the acetate:propionate ratio. Maceration had no effect on N flows or microbial protein synthesis. A significant time of cutting by maceration interaction was observed where maceration decreased true DM and organic matter digestibilities in evening-cut treatments, but had no effect in morning-cut treatments. Similarly, maceration reduced total N supply and molar proportions of acetate in evening-cut treatments with no effect on morning-cut treatments, while the opposite was found for molar proportions of propionate. These results indicate that independent use of evening-cutting increased fiber digestibility and total VFA concentration, and independent use of maceration shifted molar proportions of VFA towards glucogenic fermentation. The combined use of these management techniques afforded no improvement for in vitro digestibility or metabolism when applied to morning-cut hay and decreased nutrient digestibility when applied to evening-cut hay.