Evaluation of carinata meal or cottonseed meal as protein sources in silage-based diets on behavior, nutrient digestibility, and performance in backgrounding beef heifers
By: Federico Tarnonsky, Juan Vargas Martinez, Araceli Maderal, Daniella Heredia, Ignacio Fernandez-Marenchino, Wilmer Cuervo, Federico Podversich, Tessa M Schulmeister, Ricardo C Chebel, Angela Gonella-Diaza, Nicolas DiLorenzo
Increased atmospheric CO2, rising temperatures, and altered patterns of precipitation can limit the production of certain crops commonly used in agriculture, increasing risk, cost, and availability of feedstuffs. The search for alternative plants that could thrive in these changing scenarios is necessary to provide producers with a broader array of options to feed cattle. In this study, sorghum silage was compared with corn silage as the main dietary ingredient, with either Brassica carinata (carinata) or cottonseed meal as the protein source for growing beef heifers. Variables assessed included intake behavior, digestibility, and performance of beef heifers. Heifers fed sorghum silage gained less than heifers fed corn silage, though they grew at an adequate rate for a replacement heifer. Carinata meal showed similar performance results compared with cottonseed meal, despite some of its fiber components being less digestible in the total tract. Therefore, sorghum silage has potential to be a viable feedstuff for growing beef heifers although it may result in decreased performance compared with corn silage. Alternatively, carinata meal can be a practical alternative to cottonseed meal as a protein source in terms of animal performance. This could translate in an increase in the planted area of both sorghum and carinata in Southern United States, as they are adapted to drought and high temperatures, enhancing the resilience of beef production systems in a context of increased climate variability.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.