Feedlot Nutrition and Growth and Management

An Evaluation of Effective Fiber in Beef Feedlot Finishing Diets

  • Darrell Busby (Iowa State University)
  • Dan Loy (Iowa State University)
  • Dennis Dewitt (Iowa State University)
  • Beth Doran (Iowa State University)
  • Ron Irvin (Iowa State University)


A study was designed to collect a database of Iowa feedlot rations for determination of effective neutral detergent fiber (NDF) in complete diets from fiber analysis and particle size determination of individual feed ingredients and compare this with particle size determination of mixed wet rations. Seventy-one beef finishing total mixed rations were collected by ISU Extension Beef Field Specialists across Iowa. Producers were asked to complete a form assessing the acidosis risk associated with each ration. The average NDF of these diets was 25.9%. Of the total mixed rations 1.33 % remained in the top tray (>.75 in.), 47.27 % remained in the middle tray (>.31 in.), and 50.88 % was smaller than the .31 in screen. The effective NDF (eNDF) calculated from the eNDF of the ingredients averaged 10.56%. Estimated eNDF from total diet NDF and the percentage of the total diet in the top and middle trays averaged 12.47%. The calculated eNDF from non-grain sources alone averaged 3.6%. The percentage of digestive deads was weakly related to the percentage of the ration in the bottom tray (r=.19), the percentage in the top tray (r=- .46) and the effective NDF of the ration (r=-.23). The percentage of bloat was related to the total NDF of the diet (r=.28) and the effective fiber from non-grain sources (r=-.23). The number of off-feed incidences was related to the dry matter of the ration (r=.38), the apparent eNDF (r=-.28) and the percentage of ration in the bottom tray (r=.24). This study confirms that there is some relationship between effective NDF of the diet, effective NDF from non-grain sources or diet particle size; and acidosis indicators. These relationships are weak, however, indicating that other factors such as feedbunk management, feed processing, feed presentation and feed mixing likely also play a role in the incidence of acidosis in feedlot cattle.

Keywords: ASL R1634

How to Cite:

Busby, D., Loy, D., Dewitt, D., Doran, B. & Irvin, R., (2000) “An Evaluation of Effective Fiber in Beef Feedlot Finishing Diets”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 1(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 2000
Peer Reviewed