The effect of season and monensin sodium on the digestive characteristics of autumn and spring pasture fed to sheep.

Abstract

The effects of season of growth and monensin treatment on ruminal digestion of fresh-cut autumn and spring pasture were measured in a single group of ruminally fistulated castrated male sheep, housed indoors in metabolism crates. Responses were assessed in terms of ruminal volatile fatty acid molar proportions, ammonia concentration, pH, apparent digestibility of the pasture, and nitrogen balance of the animals. Blood plasma concentrations of insulin, glucose, beta-hydroxybutyrate, urea, and NEFA were also evaluated. Autumn pasture contained significantly lower proportions of water-soluble carbohydrate (P < 0.05), cellulose (P < 0.05), and lignin (P < 0.05) and increased pectin (P < 0.05), hemicellulose (P < 0.05), and crude protein (P < 0.10) concentrations when compared with spring pasture. Voluntary DMI by sheep of autumn pasture was lower (P < 0.01) than that of spring pasture and was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced by monensin treatment. Monensin treatment significantly decreased the ruminal molar proportions of acetic acid (P < 0.10) and butyric acid (P < 0.001) and increased the molar proportions of propionic acid (P < 0.001) and minor VFA (P < 0.01). Nitrogen retention of the sheep was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced by monensin treatment. Plasma glucose levels were increased (P < 0.10) by monensin treatment during the fourth 5-d collection period in both seasons. Chemical analysis suggested that the composition of autumn pasture was different from that of spring pasture and that this was manifested in vivo by increased DMI and digestibility of spring vs autumn pasture. Ruminal fermentation of autumn pasture also had an increased acetate-to-propionate ratio compared with spring pasture. Monensin treatment acted consistently across seasons by increasing the proportion of propionate and decreasing the proportion of acetate in ruminal fluid.

Cite this paper

@article{Maas2001TheEO, title={The effect of season and monensin sodium on the digestive characteristics of autumn and spring pasture fed to sheep.}, author={James A Maas and G. F. Wilson and S N Mccutcheon and Goran A. Lynch and Donald L Burnham and James France}, journal={Journal of animal science}, year={2001}, volume={79 4}, pages={1052-8} }