Can cactus (Opuntia stricta [Haw.] Haw) cladodes plus urea replace wheat bran in steers' diet?

  • Received : 2017.12.22
  • Accepted : 2018.05.02
  • Published : 2018.10.01


Objective: The study aimed to evaluate the effect of replacing wheat bran for cactus cladodes plus urea (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%) on the intake of nutrients, nitrogen balance, microbial protein synthesis, and rumen fermentation for steers. Methods: Five crossbred steers (1/2 Holstein-Zebu), with rumen cannula and an average body weight of $180{\pm}5.3kg$, were assigned to a $5{\times}5$ Latin square design. Dietary treatments consisted of the replacement of the total of wheat bran in basal diet by cactus cladodes using the following proportions: 0% for basal diet, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% cactus cladodes replacing wheat bran. Urea was added to the diets to adjust the crude protein (CP) content to 130 g/kg dry matter. Results: Maximum dry matter intake (5.73 kg/d) and maximum nitrogen balance (103 g/d) were estimated for 54.6% and 70.8% replacement levels of wheat bran. The maximum microbial protein production (44.6 g/d) was obtained at a replacement level of 49.7%, and a medium value (125 g CP mic/kg total digestible nutrients) of microbial protein efficiency was observed. The rumen pH increased linearly according to cactus cladodes inclusion, while the ammonia nitrogen medium value was 24.5 mg/dL. Conclusion: The replacement of 55% wheat bran for cactus cladodes plus urea in the diet of crossbred steers is recommended.


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