The effect of physical structure in maize silage-based diets for beef bulls

S De Campeneere, L O Fiems, H De Bosschere, Johan De Boever, R Ducatelle

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    To investigate the influence of physical structure on zootechnical performances, four feeding regimens were evaluated with 52 Belgian Blue double-muscled bulls starting from 327 kg until slaughter (646 kg). All diets were fed ad libitum and consisted of concentrates and maize silage in different ratios. The structural value (SV), currently used in Belgium as an evaluator of physical structure in the diet for dairy cows, amounted to 0.95 (control group), 0.74 and 0.52 per kg dry matter for the treatments with a high (HSV), medium (MSV) and low (LSV) SV, respectively. The fourth group (LSVs) received the same diet as group LSV, but additional straw was provided ad libitum, as a possible corrector for a lack of physical structure. No significant differences were found for growth rate, intake and feed conversion data. However, between 600 and 650 kg, growth rate and intake of group LSV and LSVs tended to be reduced. The influences on the carcass quality were of minor importance. Remarkably, meat tenderness of the LSV group was improved (32.3 N) in comparison (p=0.08) with the other groups (42.6 N). The height of the rumen papillae was not affected by the diets. Histological examination of the ruminal epithelium revealed that the LSV group showed the severest morphological changes. Examination of the cross-sections of the digits showed no influence of the diet on the incidence of laminitis. From these results, it is concluded that maize silage-based rations with a SV of 0.74 provide enough structure for optimal zootechnical performances of finishing Belgian Blue double-muscled bulls.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition
    Issue number5-6
    Pages (from-to)174-184
    Number of pages11
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • Animal Feed
    • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
    • Animals
    • Cattle
    • Energy Intake
    • Male
    • Meat
    • Particle Size
    • Random Allocation
    • Rumen
    • Silage
    • Zea mays


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