The experiment investigated the digestion of lipids from different forage silages in beef steers. Six Hereford x Friesian steers prepared with rumen and duodenal cannulas were given ad libitum access to a high-sugar grass silage, control grass silage, red clover silage, or mixtures of the red clover and each of the grass silages (50:50, DM basis). The experiment was conducted as an incomplete 5 x 5 Latin square, with an additional randomly repeated sequence. Total fatty acid and C18:3n-3 concentrations were greater (P <0.05) for the high-sugar grass silage than the control grass silage or the red clover silage. Dry matter and total fatty acid intake were less (P <0.05) for steers fed the control grass silage than for steers fed the other diets. Duodenal flow of C18:3n-3 was greater (P <0.05), and flows of C18:0 and total C18:1 trans were less (P <0.05), for the red clover silage compared with the 2 grass silage diets, with the mixtures intermediate. These results were supported by a reduction (P <0.05) in biohydrogenation of C18:3n-3 for the red clover silage, with the mixtures again being intermediate. Flows of total branched- and odd-chain fatty acids were greater (P <0.05) for the high-sugar grass silage diet, possibly as a result of greater microbial flow, because these fatty acids are associated with bacterial lipid. Duodenal flows of the chlorophyll metabolite, phytanic acid, were greater (P <0.05) for animals fed the high-sugar grass silage treatments compared with the other treatments. These results confirm the potential for modifying the fatty acid composition of ruminant products by feeding red clover silage.
- beef steer, biohydrogenation, fatty acid, high-sugar grass silage, phytanic acid, red clover silage, nitrogen use efficiency, perennial ryegrass silage, rumen function, water-soluble carbohydrate