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The Value of Supplements in Silage Rations for Weanling Beef Bullocks

R. B. McCarrick
Irish Journal of Agricultural Research
Vol. 2, No. 1 (Apr., 1963), pp. 49-60
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25555287
Page Count: 12
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The Value of Supplements in Silage Rations for Weanling Beef Bullocks
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Abstract

Two experiments were conducted to determine the values of hay and barley fed separately and in combination as supplements to medium protein silages for 8-12 month old weanling bullocks. A ration of hay, swedes and barley was compared with these treatments in both trials, and with an all-silage diet in a third experiment. Weight gains, conversion efficiency and dry matter intake were much increased and silage intake was not depressed when 2 lb. of barley was fed with silage ad lib. Supplementing silage with hay also increased dry matter consumption but weight gains and conversion efficiency were improved only when the hay and silage were of similar maturity. Weight gain or conversion efficiency did not increase when a silage-barley ration was supplemented with hay, although dry matter intake was increased slightly by high protein hay. Intake of good quality silage was not depressed by supplements of hay and/or barley, but that of poorer quality silage dropped when hay was offered. The fact that animals consumed hay and barley without reducing intake of good quality silage indicates that the capacity of the rumen for dry matter was not ocmpletely occupied when silage was fed alone. Medium protein silage was equivalent to a diet of hay and 30 lb. of swedes per day for weight gains and conversion efficiency. No significant differences were found between weight gains of groups fed (a) silage ad lib., (b) silage and hay, (c) hay and swedes, when each animal received in addition 2 lb. of barley per head per day. The conversion efficiencies of these groups were also very similar, with the hay, swedes and barley group consuming slightly more dry matter. It is concluded that good quality medium protein silage supplies sufficient nutrients to animals intended for grazing the following year, and that the addition of 2 lb. of barley to the silage (or to hay and 30 lb. of swedes) supports normal growth and moderate fattening.

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