Interpretive Summary: Broccoli byproduct-wheat straw silage as a feed resource for fatting lambs.
By: Dr. Emily Taylor
Land-use changes, as well as climate change, have left many producers with limited forage resources to feed their livestock. In recent years it has become increasingly popular to identify alternative resources in lieu of what’s being limited. These alternatives may be double-cropped forages, residues, or even agricultural waste byproducts.
When harvesting broccoli flowers for human consumption, two-thirds of the plant (outer leaves and stems) are discarded. Therefore, researchers of the current paper published in Translational Animal Science investigated the use of broccoli byproduct comprised of stem and leaves as an alternative resource to lambs. Three diets were formulated to be isonitrogenous and isocaloric including broccoli byproduct-wheat straw silage (BBWS) at 0, 100, or 200 g/kg of diet DM. For a 70-d period, diets were offered as a total mixed ration with DMI, ADG, in vivo apparent digestibility, MDS, N retention, rumen, and blood parameters being measured.
Chemical analysis and fermentation characteristics of BBWS indicates it may be an adequate alternative forage resource for ruminant animals. The authors indicated that diets fed with up to 200 g/kg of DM had no adverse effects on the health status or growth performance when fattening lambs. Broccoli byproduct-wheat straw silage is equivalent to an Alfalfa-wheat straw diet in terms of effects on nutrient digestibility, feed intake, growth performance, feed efficiency, and rumen and blood parameters.