Nutritional value of flat pea hay fed to sheep at different levels
Two experiments were conducted with sheep to determine the nutritional value of 'Lathco' flatpea (Lathyrus sylvestris) hay. In experiment 1, a finishing trial was conducted with 50 group fed crossbred lambs (25 ewes and 25 wethers) fed diets consisting of 70% chopped forage and 30% ground corn grain for 70 d. Five pens of five wethers and five pens of five ewes were selffed diets in which the forage consisted of 100:0, 75:25, 50:50, 25:75, and 0:100 proportions of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) and flatpea hay. Feed efficiencies decreased linearly (P<.05) as flatpea increased in the diet. Linear decreases (P<.05) were obtained in kidney and pelvic fat, backfat, leg conformation, and yield grade with increased flatpea in the diet. Blood urea-N (BUN), ruminal pH and NH3-N increased (P<.005) as proportion of flatpea increased. Total volatile fatty acid (VFA) and acetate concentration decreased linearly (P<.005) and propionate, isovalerate, and valerate levels increased linearly (P<.01) with increased proportions of flatpea hay. In experiment 2, 30 wether lambs were fed diets consisting of 100:0, 75:25, 50:50, 25:75 and 0:100 proportions of chopped alfalfa and flatpea hays in a digestion trial. Neutral detergent fiber (NOE), acid detergent fiber (ADE), cellulose, hemicellulose and energy digestibilities decreased linearly (P<.01) with increased levels of flatpea hay. Nitrogen retention was not different between sheep fed the different diets. Apparent absorbtion and retention of Ca decreased linearly (P<.05) with increased level of flatpea hay Ruminal pH and NHa-N, and BUN increased linearly (P<.OOl) as flatpea was increased in the diet. Ruminal total VEA, acetate and acetate to propionate ratio decreased linearly (P<.001) and propionate, isobutyrate, isovalerate, and valerate levels increased linearly (P<.001) as level of flatpea increased.