A 4-unit dual-flow continuous-culture fermentor system was used to assess the effect of supplementing 7-d sprouted barley (SB) or barley grain (BG) with an herbage-based or haylage-based diet on nutrient digestibility, volatile fatty acid (VFA) profiles, bacterial protein synthesis, and methane (CH4) output. Treatments were randomly assigned to fermentors in a 4 × 4 Latin square design with a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement using 7 d for diet adaptation and 3 d for sample collection. Experimental diets were (1) 55.5 g of herbage dry matter (DM) + 4.5 g of SB DM, (2) 56.0 g of herbage DM + 4.0 g of BG DM, (3) 55.5 g of haylage DM + 4.5 g of SB DM, and (4) 56.0 g of haylage DM + 4.0 g of BG DM. Forages were fed at 0730, 1030, 1400, and 1900 h, whereas SB and BG were fed at 0730 and 1400 h. Gas samples for CH₄ analysis were collected at 0725, 0900, 1000, 1355, 1530, and 1630 h on d 8, 9, and 10. Fluid samples were taken once daily on d 8, 9, and 10 for pH measurements and for ammonia-N and VFA analysis and analyzed for DM, organic matter, crude protein, neutral detergent fiber, and acid detergent fiber for determination of nutrient digestibilities and estimation of bacterial protein synthesis. Orthogonal contrasts were used to compare the effect of forage source (haylage vs. herbage), supplement (BG vs. SB), and the forage × supplement interaction. Apparent and true DM and organic matter digestibilities as well as apparent crude protein digestibility were not affected by forage source. However, true DM digestibility was greatest for diets supplemented with SB. Apparent neutral and acid detergent fiber digestibilities of herbage-based diets were higher than haylage-based diets but fiber digestibility was not affected by supplement. Diets supplemented with SB had higher mean and minimum pH than BG; however, maximum pH was not affected by diet. Supplementation with BG produced a greater concentration of total VFA compared with diets supplemented with SB. Haylage-based diets produced greater CH4 output compared with herbage-based diets but supplementation did not affect CH4 output. Efficiency of bacterial protein synthesis was greater for herbage-based diets compared with haylage-based diets, with no effect of supplementation. Overall, supplementation with SB marginally increased true DM digestibility of herbage- and haylage-based diets but did not affect fiber and crude protein digestibilities, CH4 output, and bacterial efficiency, compared with BG.
Keywords: continuous culture fermentation; grazing; sprouted barley.
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