Forage Utilization

Ruminal Microbial Protein Synthesis in Sheep Fed Forages of Varying Nutritive Values

  • Mehmet Akif Karsli (Iowa State University)
  • James R. Russell (Iowa State University)


Six wethers, fitted with ruminal and duodenal cannulae, were utilized in a 6 x 6 Latin Square metabolism trial to determine efficiency of microbial protein synthesis in the rumen of sheep fed forages with varying nutritional quality. Ground alfalfa hay, oat-berseem clover hay, and baled corn crop residues were fed at an ad libitum or limited intake level. Chromium-mordanted fiber, cobalt- EDTA, and purines were used to determine digesta flow and solid passage rate, dilution rate, and microbial protein production, respectively. Sheep fed alfalfa hay had greater organic matter (OM) intakes, and amounts of OM apparently and truly ruminally digested (g/d; P < .05) than sheep fed either oat-berseem clover or corn crop residues at the ad libitum intake level. Rates of slow solid and liquid passage, and postfeeding ruminal ammonia-nitrogen (N) and volatile fatty acids (VFA) concentrations were lower (P < .05) in sheep fed corn crop residues than those fed alfalfa or oat-berseem clover hay. Total duodenal flows (g/d) and efficiencies of ruminal synthesis (g crude protein/100 g of OM truly digested; P < .05) of microbial protein were less in sheep fed corn crop residues than in sheep fed alfalfa, and oatberseem clover ad libitum. Whereas total duodenal microbial-N flow was related to organic matter intake (OMI; r2 = .97) and OM truly digested in the rumen (OMTDR; r2 = .97), microbial efficiency was related to g of nitroge truly digested in the rumen (NTDR)/100 g of OMTDR (r2 = .82) and slow solid passage rate (r2 = .91).

Keywords: ASL R1638

How to Cite:

Karsli, M. A. & Russell, J. R., (2000) “Ruminal Microbial Protein Synthesis in Sheep Fed Forages of Varying Nutritive Values”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 1(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 2000
Peer Reviewed