Comparison of Naked Oat Hay to Corn Silage in Backgrounding Diets of Heifers

T. W. Loy, G.P. Lardy, M.L. Bauer, B. Kreft, and P. Nyren


Table of Contents

Impact Statement
Summary
Introduction
Materials and Methods
Results and Discussion
Conclusions


Impact Statement

The equal replacement of corn silage with naked oat hay resulted in comparable feed efficiencies when fed in a growing ration to replacement heifers.

Summary

A sixty-day trial was conducted at CGREC to compare the value of naked oat hay as a replacement for corn silage in the growing diets of 600-lb. beef heifers. Either naked oat hay or corn silage was included at 37% of dietary dry matter in a barley-based diet. Diets were fed ad libitum to 188 Angus-cross heifers (4 pens per treatment). Refusals were collected to determine intake, and pen gain and feed efficiency were calculated. Heifers fed naked oat hay had weight gains, feed intakes, and efficiencies that were not statistically different than those fed corn silage.

Introduction

Many North Dakota producers have sought to find alternative crops that are well suited to growing conditions commonly found in the state, and that offer economically viable alternatives at times when more traditional commodities have reduced profit potential. Naked oats have received recent attention as a grain source for both livestock and human consumption. Selection for hulless varieties has also resulted in varieties that produce more standing forage, relative to traditional oat varieties. This presents an opportunity to utilize naked oats as a non-grain feedstuff as well. Backgrounding is a common practice among livestock producers in North Dakota. This trial was designed to compare weight gain, feed intake, and efficiency of beef heifers using either naked oat hay or corn silage as the roughage source in growing diets of beef heifers.

Materials and Methods

One hundred and eighty-eight beef heifers with an initial body weight of 580 lb. (4 pens per treatment) were stratified by weight and assigned to two dietary treatments: naked oat hay or corn silage at 37% dietary dry matter (DM). Both diets contained barley, alfalfa hay, soybean meal, Rumensin, and salt. The diet compositions are included in Table 1. Diets were offered at full consumption and were formulated to be similar in net energy for maintenance and net energy for gain. Refusals were collected to determine pen intakes and efficiencies. Consecutive-day weights were taken to determine weight gain. The trial began November 17, 1998 and concluded January 24, 1999.

Table 1. Diet Composition, Percent Dry Matter Basis

 

Naked Oat Hay

Corn Silage

Naked oat hay

37.0

-

Corn silage

-

37.0

Barley

37.8

40.8

Alfalfa

22.1

19.1

Soybean meal

1.8

1.8

Rumensin premix

0.97

0.97

Salt

0.30

0.30

Results and Discussion

Heifers gained 2.04 lbs per day, consumed 19.6 lbs. of dry matter daily, with an average feed efficiency (gain:feed) of 0 .10 lb. of gain/lb. of feed. No significant differences were detected in average daily gain (P=0.2), dry matter intake (P=0.8), or feed efficiency (P=0.4) of naked oat hay vs corn silage-fed heifers. Dry matter intake as a percentage of BW was 3.0% for both treatments.

Conclusions

Including either naked oat hay or corn silage at 37% of the dietary DM resulted in similar weight gain, feed intake, and feed efficiency.


Dr. Greg Lardy
Animal and Range Science Department
North Dakota State University
Box 5727 State University Station 
Fargo, ND 58105
E-mail: glardy@ndsuext.nodak.edu


NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center

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