Ohio State University Extension Bulletin

Research and Reviews: Beef

Special Circular 162-99


Poultry Manure as a Protein and Mineral Supplement in High Concentrate Diets Limit-Fed to Gestating and Lactating Beef Cows

J. E. Rossi
The Ohio State University
Department of Animal Sciences

S. C. Loerch1
The Ohio State University
Department of Animal Sciences

1 For more information, contact at: The Ohio State Univeristy, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, 1680 Madison Avenue, Wooster, OH 44691; 330-263-3903.

Abstract

Three experiments were conducted to evaluate poultry manure as a crude protein and mineral supplement in high concentrate limit-fed diets fed to gestating and lactating beef cows and heifers. Experiment 1 used 67 gestating beef cows. No differences (P > 0.10) in performance were observed between cows provided supplemental crude protein and minerals from either poultry manure or a soybean meal-based supplement. Feed costs per day were lower for cows supplemented with poultry manure ($0.82) than the supplement ($1.11), and were much lower than an all hay diet ($1.46). Experiment 2 used 26 gestating beef heifers. No differences (P > 0.10) in performance were observed between heifers consuming a low poultry manure diet (10.2 lbs./day corn and 2.5 lbs./day poultry manure) or a high poultry manure diet (6.9 lbs./day corn and 7.0 lbs./day poultry manure). Feed costs per day were lower for the high poultry manure treatment ($.61 versus $.73 for high and low poultry manure treatments, respectively). Experiment 3 used 61 beef cows and 23 beef heifers in late gestation. Animals consuming the poultry manure diet lost more weight during both the gestation (P < 0.10) and lactation periods (P < 0.05). Overall change in body condition score was similar among treatments (P = 0.31). Feed costs per day were lower for the poultry manure treatment ($0.82) than the supplement treatment ($1.11). Poultry manure was a much more economical source of supplemental crude protein and minerals than the supplement in experiments 1 and 3. Although cows and heifers consuming the poultry manure diet lost more weight in Experiment 3, additional corn could be fed to the poultry manure treatment to equalize energy intake, resulting in a diet that would remain more economical than the supplement treatment.

Introduction

It has been shown that limit-feeding a high-concentrate diet can be used successfully to meet the energy needs of gestating and lactating beef cows (Loerch, 1996). However, grain-based diets must be supplemented with protein and minerals to meet the needs of the cow. The protein supplement represents 25 to 30% of total feed costs, but only 15% of total diet dry matter intake (DMI). Poultry manure is used most efficiently by ruminants as a protein supplement because it is relatively high in crude protein (Fontenot, 1990). Poultry manure has the potential to replace soybean meal-based protein supplements, decrease feed costs, and make limit-feeding even more viable. However, the value of poultry manure as a protein supplement for grain-fed beef cows has not been determined. In addition, poultry manure contributes significant amounts of Ca, P, K, and numerous trace minerals (Ruffin and McCaskey, 1990). If the diet consists of at least 20% poultry manure, no additional mineral supplementation is needed (Gerken, 1990). Poultry manure may be an effective and economical protein and mineral supplement in high-concentrate diets, limit-fed to gestating and lactating beef cows. Therefore, the experiment's objectives were to determine effects of using poultry manure as a crude protein and mineral supplement in high-concentrate diets limit-fed to gestating and lactating cows on weight change and body condition score (BCS). An additional objective was to determine the viability of poultry manure used as both a protein and energy source to partially replace grain in high-concentrate limit-fed diets.

Materials and Methods

Experiment 1

Sixty-seven mature, pregnant beef cows were used to: 1. determine the efficiency of poultry manure versus a grain-based crude protein supplement to meet supplemental protein and mineral needs of cows limit-fed a high concentrate diet, and 2. compare limit-fed grain supplement, limit-fed grain supplement containing poultry manure, and hay as sources of energy for wintering beef cows. The experiment lasted 18 weeks (October 22-February 24). Calves were weaned three weeks prior to initiation of the experiment. Cows were randomly allotted by weight into six groups with two groups per treatment. Cows in the supplement treatment were fed 13.6 lbs./day whole shelled corn [8.3% crude protein (CP)], 3.5 lbs./day orchardgrass hay [10.7% CP, 70% neutral detergent fiber (NDF)], and 2.5 lbs./day of a 38% crude protein and mineral supplement. Cows in the poultry manure treatment were fed 13.6 lbs./day whole shelled corn, 3.3 lbs./day orchardgrass hay, and 3.1 lbs./day poultry manure (32.1% CP). Cows in the hay treatment were offered round baled orchardgrass hay (11.6% CP, 74% NDF) ad libitum. Cows in the supplement and poultry manure treatments were housed in four pens in a partially enclosed barn. Cows in the hay treatment were housed on two dormant orchardgrass pastures. Diets in the supplement and poultry manure treatments were balanced to provide equal amounts of energy and crude protein to meet or exceed recommendations for intake of energy and protein (NRC, 1984). Cows were fed once per day beginning at 0800 hours. Cows were weighed and body condition scored every 21 or 28 days. Feedstuffs in this experiment and the two subsequent experiments were sampled every 14 days and a composite was formed. Composite feed samples were dried in a forced-air oven at 55 degrees C, ground to pass a one mm screen, and analyzed for dry matter (DM) (Goering and Van Soest, 1970), neutral detergent fiber (NDF) (Van Soest et al., 1992), and nitrogen (N), by a combustion type autoanalyzer Leco FP-2000 (Leco Corp., St. Joseph, MI).

Data were analyzed statistically using GLM procedures of SAS (1991). The model contained effects due to treatment and group served as the experimental unit.

Experiment 2

Twenty-six pregnant beef heifers were used to determine effects of poultry manure used as an energy source to partially replace corn in high-concentrate diets limit-fed to beef heifers in late pregnancy. The experiment lasted 84 days (October 22-January 13). Heifers were randomly allotted by weight to one of two groups with 13 heifers per group. Heifers were housed in an enclosed barn. The low poultry manure treatment was fed 12 lbs./day whole shelled corn (8.3% CP), 3.2 lbs./day orchardgrass hay (12.1% CP, 59% NDF), and 3.1 lbs./day poultry manure (32.1% CP). The high poultry manure treatment was fed 8 lbs./day whole shelled corn, 3.5 lbs./day orchardgrass hay, and 9 lbs./day poultry manure. Diets were formulated to meet or exceed nutrient requirements for beef heifers in late gestation (NRC, 1984). Heifers were weighed and body condition scored every 28 days. Feeding was once daily beginning at 0800 hours.

Data were analyzed statistically using GLM procedures of SAS (1991). The model contained effects due to treatment and animal served as the experimental unit.

Experiment 3

Sixty-one mature beef cows and 23 heifers were used to determine if poultry manure can be utilized as a protein and mineral supplement for beef cows and heifers in early lactation. The experiment lasted 12 weeks (January 15-April 8). Cows and heifers were randomly allotted to four groups with 20 or 22 animals per group. One group in each treatment had access to a one-acre dry lot and all groups had access to shelter. All groups were fed 14 lbs./day whole shelled corn (7.7% CP), and 3 lbs./day orchardgrass hay (10.5% CP, 71% NDF). In addition, two groups were fed 2.5 lbs./day of a 38% crude protein and mineral supplement, and two groups were fed 2.7 lbs./day of poultry manure (37.7% CP).

Cows and heifers were weighed and body condition scored every 28 days and calf birth weights were measured. In addition, cows were weighed approximately four days post-calving to separate performance into gestation and lactation periods. Cows were fed once daily beginning at 1500 hours.

Data were analyzed statistically using GLM procedures of SAS (1991). The model contained effects due to treatment and the group served as the experimental unit.

For all trials, research protocols concerning animal care followed guidelines recommended in the Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching (Consortium, 1988).

Results and Discussion

Experiment 1

Composition of the supplement is shown in Table 1. Performance data, feed intake, and total feed costs are presented in Table 2. Initial weight, final weight, and weight change were similar among treatments (P > 0.28). Initial and final body condition scores were similar (P > 0.58) among treatments and increased approximately one-half of a condition score during the experiment. Dry matter intake was approximately 17 lbs./day for the supplement and poultry manure treatments and was 31.8 lbs./day for the hay treatment. Total feed costs per day were highest ($1.46) for the hay treatment and lowest ($.82) for the poultry manure treatment. The supplement treatment was intermediate ($1.11).

Table 1. Effects of Feeding Poultry Manure as a Crude Protein and Mineral
Supplement to Gestating Beef Cows Consuming a Corn-Based Diet.
Treatment
ItemSupplement Poultry manureHaySE1
(Oct 22-Feb 24)
No. Cows232123-
Initial Wt., lb.1,409 1,4221,4056.3
Final Wt., lb.1,5091,5491,53415.2
Wt. Change, lb.+100+127+12913.9
Initial BCS23.43.33.30.07
Final BCS3.83.93.80.07
BCS Change+0.40+0.57+0.470.06
DM Intake, lb./day
Corn11.711.70.0-
Hay 3.1 3.031.8-
Poultry Manure0.02.40.0-
Supplement 2.20.00.0-
Total17.117.131.8-
Feed Costs/day3$1.11$.82$1.46-
1 SE = standard error of the mean.
2 Body Condition Score; 1=thin, 5 = fat.
3 Calculated with the following prices: corn = $0.048/lb. ($2.70/bu.); hay = $0.04/lb.
($80/ton); poultry manure = $0.01/lb. ($20/ton); and supplement = $0.125/lb. ($250/ton).
Table 2. Effects of Feeding Poultry Manure at Two Levels to
Gestating Beef Heifers Consuming a Corn-Based Diet.
Treatment
ItemLow Poultry ManureHigh Poultry Manure SE1
(Oct 22-Dec 17)
No. Heifers1313-
Initial wt., lb.1,1081,10624.8
Final wt., lb.1,2121,19229.1
Wt. change, lb.+104+8613.4
Initial BCS23.33.20.13
Final BCS3.33.30.13
BCS change0.0+0.10.10
DM Intake, lb./day
Corn10.26.9-
Hay 2.93.2-
Poultry Manure 2.57.0-
Total15.617.1-
Feed Costs/day3$.73$.61-
1 SE = standard error of the mean
2 Body Condition Score: 1 = thin, 5 = fat
3 Calculated with the following prices: corn = $.048/lb.
($2.70/bu), hay = $.04/lb. ($80/ton), and poultry manure
= $.01/lb. ($20/ton)

Poultry manure was equally effective as the grain-based supplement in providing supplemental protein and minerals to cows in late gestation. Feeding poultry manure versus a grain-based supplement reduced feed costs $.29 per day. The supplement and poultry manure treatments supported the same level of performance as the hay treatment. Additionally, feed costs were $.64 per day less for the poultry manure than the hay treatment.

Experiment 2

Performance data, feed intake, and total feed costs are presented in Table 2. Initial weight, final weight, and weight change were similar (P > 0.35) between treatments. Initial and final body condition scores were similar (P > 0.67) between treatments and did not change during the experiment. Heifers in the high poultry manure treatment consumed 1.5 lbs./day more dry matter than heifers in the low poultry manure treatment. However, total feed costs were $.12 per day less for the high than the low poultry manure treatment. Poultry manure was effective as both a protein and energy source to partially replace grain in high-concentrate limit-fed diets.

Experiment 3

Performance data, feed intake, and total feed costs are presented in Table 3. Weight loss was greater for the poultry manure treatment for the entire experiment (P < 0.07), and the gestation (P < 0.10) and lactation period (P < 0.04). However, weight loss per day during lactation was not different (P > 0.18) between treatments. Initial, final, and BCS changes were similar (P > 0.25) between treatments. Total feed costs were $.29 per day lower for the poultry manure treatment, resulting in a 35% reduction in total feed costs.

Table 3. Effects of Feeding Poultry Manure as a Crude Protein and
Mineral Supplement to Gestating and Lactating Beef Cows Consuming
a Corn-Based Diet.
Treatment
ItemSupplement Poultry ManureSE1
(Jan 15-April 9)
No. animals4242-
Initial wt., lb.1,3661,3698.9
Final wt., lb.1,2431,19418.2
Wt. change, lb.-123.8h175.0i9.64
ADG, lb.-1.48h-2.09i0.116
Gestation wt. change, lb.2 -72 -109.1i8.49
Days44402.7
ADG, lb.-1.66-2.780.402
Calf birth wt., lb.87.788.63.92
Lactation initial wt., lb. 312941260 17.3
Lactation wt. change, lb.-51.0f-65.9g1.9
Days 40442.7
ADG, lb.-1.27-1.510.087
Initial BCS45.55.50.0
Final BCS5.014.740.147
BCS change-0.44-0.770.147
DMI, lb./
Corn12.212.2-
Hay2.72.7-
Supplement2.20.0-
Poultry manure0.02.1-
Total17.117.0-
Feed Costs/day5$1.11$.82-
1 SE = standard error of the mean.
2 Gestation weight change includes loss of weight due to calving.
3 Weight taken three days after calving.
4 Body condition score: 1 = thin, 9 = fat.
5 Calculated with the following prices: corn = $0.48/lb.
($2.70/bu.), hay = $.04/lb. (980/ton), poultry manure = $.01/lb. ($20/ton),
and supplement = $1.25/lb. ($250/ton).
fghi Means within a row, with unlike superscripts differ (P< 0.05).

Weight loss was greater for the poultry manure treatment during both the gestation and lactation periods. Poultry manure treatment lost 50% and 29% more weight than the supplement treatment in the gestation and lactation periods, respectively. Since intake of both hay and corn was equal between treatments, any differences in total energy intake between treatments can be attributed to differences in the energy concentrations of poultry manure and the supplement. Assuming the metabolizable energy (ME) content of the supplement is 1.14 mcal/lb. and poultry manure is 0.85 mcal/lb. (NRC, 1984), then animals consuming the poultry manure treatment had a 0.718 Mcal lower metabolizable energy intake. An additional 0.50 lb. of corn fed to the poultry manure treatment would equalize metabolizable energy intake between treatments. The daily feed costs of the poultry manure treatment would still remain substantially lower if an additional 0.50 lb./day corn was fed to equalize energy intake.

Poultry manure was equally effective as a soybean meal-based supplement in providing supplemental crude protein and minerals to cows consuming high-concentrate diets. The poultry manure treatment in Experiments 1 and 3 resulted in a 35% reduction in daily feed costs. Poultry manure was also effective as both a protein and an energy source when fed at 41% of diet dry matter to gestating beef heifers in Experiment 2.

References

Consortium. 1988. Guide for the care and use of agricultural animals in agricultural research and teaching. Consortium for Developing a Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Training, Champaign, IL.

Fontenot, J. P. 1990. Recycling animal waste by feeding to enhance environmental quality.

In: Animal agriculture for the '90s. p. 1. Amer. Feed Ind. Assoc. Arlington, VA.

Gerken, J. H. Jr. 1990. Utilization of poultry waste by feeding to cattle. Proc. Natl. Poult. Waste Manage. Symp. p. 115. Blacksburg, VA.

Goering, H. K. and P. J. Van Soest. 1970. Forage fiber analyses (apparatus, reagents, procedures and some applications). Agric. Handbook No. 379. ARS, USDA, Washington, DC.

Loerch, S. C. 1996. Limit-feeding corn as an alternative to hay for gestating beef cows. J. Anim. Sci. 74:1211-1216.

NRC. 1984. Nutrient requirements of beef cattle. 6th Ed. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.

Ruffin, B. G. and T. A. McCaskey. 1990. Broiler litter can serve as a feed ingredient for beef cattle. Feedstuffs 62(15):13.

SAS. 1991. SAS/STAT® User's Guide. 6.04 Ed. SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, NC.

Van Soest, P. J., J. B. Robertson, and B. A. Lewis. 1991. Methods for dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber, and nonstarch polysaccharide in relation to animal nutrition. J. Dairy Sci. 74:3583.


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