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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #307088

Research Project: Multifunctional Farms and Landscapes to Enhance Ecosystem Services

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: Sprouted barley for dairy cows: Nutritional composition and digestibility

item Orr, Aimee
item Soder, Kathy
item Rubano, Melissa
item Dell, Curtis

Submitted to: Extension Fact Sheets
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/10/2014
Publication Date: 7/18/2014
Citation: Orr, A.N., Soder, K.J., Rubano, M.D., Dell, C.J. 2014. Sprouted barley for dairy cows: Nutritional composition and digestibility. USDA-ARS fact sheet. p. 1.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: A 4-unit dual-flow continuous culture fermentor system was used to assess the effect of supplementing 7-d sprouted barley or barley grain with an haylage or pasture diet on nutrient digestibility and methane output. Barley grain was sprouted in climate controlled growth chambers, to be used as part of the experimental diets. Experimental diets were pasture or haylage supplemented with either 7.5% sprouted barley or 6.7% barley grain, on a dry matter basis. The diets were formulated to be isocaloric. Fresh weight increased by 327% with sprouting; however the decrease in dry matter resulted in a 17% dry matter yield loss. Sprouting increased crude protein and fiber (NDF and ADF) concentrations, but decreased the net energy concentration by 6%. The combined loss of dry matter yield and loss of net energy resulted in a 21% loss of total energy, when comparing 1 tray of barley grain and the resulting sprouted mat. Pasture had a greater fiber (NDF) digestibility compared to haylage. Supplementing diets with sprouted barley increased dry matter diet digestibility by 5%. Haylage diets had a 27% greater methane output compared to pasture diets. Supplementing haylage and pasture diets with sprouted barley did not affect methane output, compared to supplementing with barley grain. Therefore, the marginal increase in digestibility coupled with the dry matter yield loss, could result in a net loss of digestible energy available to the animal, which may negatively impact performance.