Influence of Processing of Barley Grain on Characteristics of Digestion, Ruminal Fermentation and Digestible Energy of Diet inLactating Cows

Document Type: Research Article


1 Instituto de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Mexicali, Mexico

2 Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Autonoma de Sinaloa, Culiacan, Mexico

3 Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis, USA


A digestion trial using cannulated lactating cows was conducted to evaluate the influence of barley grain processing on characteristics of ruminal fermentation and the site and extent of digestion. The experiment consisted in 4 periods and lasted 84 days. The total mixed rations contained 39.86% of grains and 42.90% of alfalfa hay and the rest of ration was composed mainly by cane molasses, fat, fishmeal and minerals. The barley grains were processed by dry-rolled and steam-flaking with two densities of flake (0.39 and 0.26 kg/L). Dry rolled corn was used as reference to determine energy value of barley grain. Compared to dry rolled barley, steam-flaked barley increased ruminal digestion of organic matter(OM) and starch, and energy of diet, but decreased dry matter intake. Decreasing steam-flaked density of barley from 0.30 to 0.26 kg/L increased ruminal digestion of starch and ruminal propionate and decreased dry matter intake and ruminal nitrogen digestion. Compared to corn, cows fed barley diets shown a greater dietary energy as result of greater total tract OM digestion, greater microbial protein efficiency and lower ruminal acetate and methane production. However, barley treatments had a lower ruminal pH and this was exacerbated as flake density decreased. The energy value of barley was improved (P<0.05) 8% by steam-flaking. However, flaking barley too thinly depress (P<0.05) feed intake. The optimal flake density for barley fed to lactating dairy cattle is around of 0.39 kg/L.


AOAC. (2000).Official Method of Analysis. 17th Ed. Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Ahmad M., Gibb D., McAllister T.A., Yang W.Z., Zijlstra R.T. and Oba M. (2010). Adjusting roller settings based on kernel size increased starch digestibility of dry-rolled barley grain in cattle. Canadian J. Anim. Sci. 90, 275-278.
Allen M.S. (2000). Effects of diet on short-term regulation of feed intake by lactating dairy cattle. J. Dairy Sci. 83, 1598-1624.
Beauchemin K.A., Rode L.M. and Yang W.Z. (1997). Effects of nonstructural carbohydrates and source of cereal grain in high concentrate diets of dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 80, 1640-1650.
Bergen W.G., Purcer D.B. and Cline J.H. (1968). Effects of ration on the nutritive quality of rumen microbial protein. J. Anim. Sci. 27, 1497-1501.
Boss D.L. and Bowman J.G.P. (1996). Barley varieties for finishing steers: I. Feedlot performance, in vivo diet digestion and carcass characteristics. J. Anim. Sci. 74, 1967-1972.
Brouwer E. (1965). Report of subcommittee on constants and factors. Pp. 441-443 in Proc. 3rd Symp. Energy Metabol, Troon, Scotland.
Casper D.P. and Schingoethe D.J. (1989). Lactational responses of dairy cows to diets varying in ruminal solubilities of carbohydrate and crude protein.J. Dairy Sci. 72, 928-941.
DePeters E.J. and Taylor S.J. (1985). Effects of feeding corn or barley on composition of milk and diet digestibility. J. Dairy Sci. 68, 2027-2032.
Feng P.C., Hunt W., Pritchard G.T. and Parrish S.M. (1995). Effect of barley variety and dietary barley content on digestive function in beef steers fed hay-based diets. J. Anim. Sci. 73, 3476-3484.
Fife T.E., Szasz J.I., Hunt C.W. and Ahola J.A. (2008). Relationship between quality characteristics of barley grain and digestibility in feedlot steers. Prof. Anim. Sci. 24, 560-565.
Garret W.N. (1965). Comparative feeding value of steam-rolledor ground barley and milo for feedlot cattle.J. Anim. Sci. 24, 726-729.
Goering H.K. and Van Soest P.J. (1970). Forage Fiber Analysis (Apparatus, Reagents, Procedures and some Applications). Agric. Handbook No 379. ARS, USDA Washington, DC.
Grings E.E., Roffler R.E. and Deitelhoff D.P. (1992). Evaluation corn and barley as energy sources for cows in early lactation fed alfalfa-based diets.J. Dairy Sci. 75, 193-200.
Hale W.H., Cuitun L., Saba W.J, Taylor B. and Theurer C.B. (1966). Effect of steam processing and flaking milo and barley on performance and digestion by steers. J. Anim. Sci. 25, 392-396.
Herrera-Saldaña R. and Huber T.L. (1989). Influences of varying protein and starch degradabilities on performance of lactating cows.J. Dairy Sci. 72, 1477-1483.
Hill F.N. and Anderson D.L. (1958). Comparison of metabolizable energy and productive energy determinations with growing chicks.J. Nutr. 64, 587-603.
Hironaka R., Beauchemin K.A. and Lysyk T.J. (1992). The effect of thickness of steam-rolled barley on its utilization by beef cattle.Canadian J. Anim. Sci. 72, 279-286.
Huntington G.B. (1997). Starch utilization by ruminants: from basics to the bunk. J. Anim. Sci. 75, 852-867.
Joy M.T., DePeters E.J., Fadel J.G. and ZinnR.A. (1997). Effects of corn processing on the site and extent of digestion in lactating cows. J. Dairy Sci. 80, 2087-2097.
Khorasani G.R., De Boer G., Robinson B. and Kennely J.J. (1994). Influence of dietary protein and starch in production and metabolic responses of dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 77, 813-824.
Lykos T., Varga G.A. and Casper D. (1997). Varying degradations rates of total nonstructural carbohydrate: effects of ruminal fermentation, blood metabolites, milk production and composition in high producing Holstein cows. J. Dairy Sci. 80, 3341-3355.
McAllister T.A., Phillippe R.C., Rode L.M. and Cheng K.J. (1993). Effect of the protein matrix on the digestion of cereal grains by ruminal microorganisms. J. Anim. Sci. 71, 205-212.
McCarthy R.D.Jr., Klusmeyer T.H., Vicini J.L., Clark J.H. and Nelson D.R. (1989). Effects of source of protein and carbohydrates in ruminal fermentation and passage of nutrients in lactating cows.J. Dairy Sci. 72, 2002-2016.
NRC. (1984). Nutrient Requirement of Beef Cattle, 6th Rev. Ed. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.
NRC. (2001). Nutrient Requirement of Dairy Cattle, 7th Rev. Ed. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.
Mutsvangwa T., Hobin M.R.and Gozho G.N. (2012). Effects of method of barley grain processing and source of supplemental dietary fat on duodenal nutrient flows, milk fatty acid profiles, and microbial protein synthesis in dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 95, 5961-5917.
Plascencia A. and Zinn R.A. (1996). Influence of flake density on the feeding value of steam-processed corn in diets for lactating cows. J. Anim. Sci. 74, 310-316.
SAS Institute. (2004). SAS®/STAT Software, Release 9.1. SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, NC.
Spicer L.A., Theurer C.B., Sowe J. and Noon T.H. (1986). Ruminal and post-ruminal utilization of nitrogen and starch from sorghum grain corn and barley-based diets by steers. J. Anim. Sci. 62, 521-530.
Theurer C.B. (1986). Grain processing effects on starch utilization by ruminants. J. Anim. Sci. 63, 1649-1662.
Theurer C.B., Huber J.T. and Santos F.A.P. (1995). Feeding and managing for maximal milkprotein. Pp. 59-65 in Proc. Southwest Nutr. Manag. Conf., Dept. Anim. Sci., Univ. Arizona, Tucson.
Wolin M.J. (1960). A theoretical rumen fermentation balance.J. Dairy Sci. 43, 1452-1459.
Yang W.Z., Beauchemin K.A., Koenig K.M. and Rode L.M. (1997a). Comparison of hull-less barley or corn for lactating cows: effects on extent of digestion and milk production. J. Dairy Sci. 80, 2475-2486.
Yang W.Z., Beauchemin K.A, Farr B.I. and Rode L.M. (1997b). Comparison of barley and corn in the concentrate of dairy cows.J. Dairy Sci. 80, 2885-2895.
Yang W.Z., Beauchemin K.A. and Rode L.M. (2000). Effects of barley grain processing on extent of digestion and milk production of lactating cows. J. Dairy Sci. 83, 554-568.
Yang W.Z., Beauchemin K.A. and Rode L.M. (2001). Effects of grain processing, forage to concentrate ratio, and forage particle size on rumen pH and extent of digestion by lactating dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 84, 2203-2216.
Zinn R.A. (1990a). Influence of flake density on the comparative feeding value of steam-flaked cornfor feedlot cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 68, 767-775.
Zinn R.A. (1990b). Influence of steaming time on site of digestion of flaked corn in steers. J. Anim. Sci. 68, 776-781.
Zinn R.A. (1993). Influence of processing on the comparative feeding value of barley for feedlot cattle.J. Anim. Sci. 71, 3-10.
Zinn R.A. and Owens F.N. (1986). A rapid procedure for purine measurement and its use for estimating net ruminal protein synthesis.Canadian J. Anim. Sci. 66, 157-166.
Zinn R.A. and Plascencia A. (1993). Interaction of whole cottonseed and supplemental fat on digestive function in cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 71, 11-17.