The University of Arizona

In vivo digestibility of kleingrass from fecal nitrogen excretion.

C.M. Ferri, N.P. Stritzler, M.A. Brizuela, H.J. Petruzzi


It was proposed that the digestibility of organic matter (OMD) can be estimated from the relationship between total fecal nitrogen (TFN, as a % of organic matter intake (OMI) and fecal nitrogen concentration (FNc) through the equation: OMD = 1 - TFN/FNc. Two assumptions are critical to this equation, total fecal nitrogen (as a % of OMI) is a constant and does not change within a range of diet crude protein and fecal nitrogen concentration is proportional to digestibility of organic matter. The objective of this study was to test if total fecal nitrogen (as a % if OMI) remains constant over 3 feeding levels, and if fecal nitrogen concentration decreases with decreasing organic matter digestibility of maturing forages. Total fecal nitrogen did not change (P = 0.94) with feeding level, but increased (P < 0.05) with evaluation period. The fecal nitrogen concentration correlated (r = 0.60, P< 0.00l) to digestibility of organic matter. The results show that digestibility of organic matter cannot be estimated from total fecal nitrogen, unless time of year is considered.



organic matter digestibility;feeding level;Panicum coloratum;equations;feces composition;chemical composition;digestibility;sheep;in vitro digestibility;nitrogen content;seasonal variation;Argentina;green fodders;maturity stage

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