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Associations between rumen function and feed efficiency in beef cattle

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Title: Associations between rumen function and feed efficiency in beef cattle
Author: Lam, Stephanie; Munro, Jasper; Cant, John; Guan, Leluo; Steele, Michael; Schenkel, Flavio; Miller, Stephen; Montanholi, Yuri
Department: Department of Animal Biosciences
Program: Animal and Poultry Science
Advisor: Cant, John
Abstract: Rumen functional and structural parameters and their associations with feed efficiency were evaluated. Forty-eight crossbred feedlot cattle were assessed for feed efficiency using residual feed intake (RFI) adjusted for body ultrasound measurements. Rumen fluid and tissue samples were evaluated for microbial and VFA profiles, papillae histomorphometry, and rumen pH (RpH) and temperature (RT) and compared between efficient and inefficient cattle. Additionally, microbial and VFA profiles were compared on-farm and at slaughter. Efficient cattle have greater bacteria (P=0.04), lower methanogen concentrations (P=0.04), differences in multiple VFA (P<0.05) between on-farm and at slaughter, greater ventral blind sac papillae width (P=0.02), spend more daily time in optimal RpH (P=0.02) and have lower circadian RpH compared to inefficient cattle. Differences in VFA profiles or RT traits were not found across efficiency groups. This suggests rumen structural and functional parameters influence the efficiency of feed utilization and may serve as potential indicators for feed efficiency.
Date: 2016-09
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