R. Bras. Zootec.01/Jan/2016;45(1):26-31.
Spineless cactus as a replacement for wheat bran in sugar cane-based diets for sheep: intake, digestibility, and ruminal parameters
ABSTRACT – The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of replacing wheat bran by spineless cactus (0, 25, 50, 75, and 100%) in sugar cane-based diets on intake and nutrient digestibility and ruminal parameters of sheep. Five sheep (Santa Inês; average initial weight of 34.0±3.6 kg) were fitted with cannulas in the rumen and then assigned to a 5 × 5 Latin square design. The maximum dry matter (DM; 1414 g d−1), digestible organic matter (658 g d−1), and neutral detergent fiber corrected for ash and protein (NDFap; 425 g d−1) intakes were estimated by replacing 80.2, 89.9, and 50.5% of wheat bran. Dry matter and crude protein digestibility increased by 0.60 and 0.85 g kg-1 of DM. With the replacement of 57.1 and 62.2% of wheat bran, a maximum rate of NDF ingestion (0.70 h−1) and NDF ruminal pool (7.31 g) was obtained. Rumen pH increased with the inclusion of spineless cactus, while the maximum concentration of ammonia N (33.3 mg dL−1) and total volatile fatty acids (57.7 μmol mL−1) were estimated at the levels of 72.3 and 63.7% of replacement of wheat bran. It is recommended to replace 63% of wheat bran by spineless cactus in sugar cane-based diets, to promote better animal performance.