Forage Utilization

The Effect of Maturity and Frost Killing of Forages on Degradation Kinetics and Escape Protein Concentration

  • M. A. Karsli (Iowa State University)
  • J. R. Russell (Iowa State University)


Two consecutive in situ studies were conducted to determine the effects of maturity and frost killing of forages (alfalfa and berseem clover) on degradation kinetics and escape protein concentrations. Four maturities (3, 5, 7, and 9 weeks after second harvest) of forages collected from three locations were used to determine the effects of maturity. Four weeks after a killing frost (-2o C), berseem clover was harvested from the same locations previously sampled. To evaluate maturity, 336 DacronÒ bags containing all maturities of either alfalfa or berseem clover were placed into the rumen of two fistulated steers fed alfalfa-grass hay. Frost killing effects of berseem clover were compared with maturecut berseem clover by placing DacronÒ bags into the rumen of one fistulated steer fed alfalfa hay. Bags were incubated for periods of 0 to 48 hours. With increasing maturity, the proportion of non-degradable protein (NDP) and the rate of crude protein (CP) degradation increased in both forages. While the rate of neutral detergent fiber (NDF) degradation and potentially degradable protein proportion (PDP) increased with increasing maturity in alfalfa, the rate of NDF degradation and PDP proportion decreased and proportion of water soluble protein (WSP) increased in berseem clover. The proportion of protein escaping rumen degradation (PEP) was greater in berseem clover than alfalfa, but was not affected by maturity. Frost killing of mature berseem clover decreased WSP proportion and increased PDP proportion compared to mature berseem clover harvested live. Even though ADIN concentration was higher for frost-killed berseem clover, PEP and total escape protein concentration (CEP) was also higher for frostkilled berseem clover than mature berseem clover harvested live, due to decreases in the rate of ruminal N degradation with frost-killing.

Keywords: ASL R1546

How to Cite:

Karsli, M. A. & Russell, J. R., (1999) “The Effect of Maturity and Frost Killing of Forages on Degradation Kinetics and Escape Protein Concentration”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 1(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 1999
Peer Reviewed