Nutritional value of flat pea hay fed to sheep at different levels

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Virginia Tech

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.

Performance, Medicago sativa L., Lathyrus sylvestris, digestibility, lambs