Pioneer Silage Zone
Understanding Starch Digestibility in Rumen Nutrition
Dr. Bill Mahanna, Pioneer PhD Global Nutritional Sciences Manager & Matt Laubach, MS Pioneer Dairy Account Manager discuss some basic principles of ruminant starch digestion with the help of a bolus capsule filled with corn starch, simulating the hard outer shell, or pericarp of a kernel of corn. Too little starch digested in the rumen reduces energy to the animal and microbial protein flow to the intestines. Too much starch digestion in the rumen can lead to ruminal acidosis (low pH from acid production) causing off-feed, low production, and production of CLA’s from corn linoleic acid resulting in low milk butterfat levels. This is a fairly common problem in ruminant diets. Digestion of corn grain by dairy cattle is limited primarily by large particle size and the pericarp shielding the endosperm. Factors known to affect starch digestibility: kernel moisture/ maturity, kernel size, starch content, grain processing method and grain particle size/distribution.
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