Fecal particle dry matter and fiber distribution of heifers fed ad libitum and restricted with low and high forage quality

K. Kljak, B. S. Heinrichs, A. J. Heinrichs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Wet sieving of manure can be used as a means of evaluating the nutrient utilization of diets by dairy cows. A commercially available system for this analysis (Nasco Digestion Analyzer, Nasco, Fort Atkinson, WI; NDA) employs principles of wet sieving for on-farm assessment. The objective of this study was to evaluate effects of diet manipulations and sampling techniques on fecal particle dry matter (DM), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and starch distribution on NDA sieves. Eight Holstein heifers (means ± SD; age 18.4 ± 0.6 mo and BW 457.2 ± 27.3 kg), were randomly assigned to a split-plot 4 × 3 incomplete Latin square experimental design with 18-d periods (15 d of adaptation and 3 d of sampling). Treatment rations differed in forage quality (high ADF <35%, low ADF >35%) and fiber content (high NDF >45%, low NDF <40%) and were offered to heifers for ad libitum and restricted intakes. Diets were fed to allow 900 to 1,000 g/d of body weight gain and fed once daily. Fecal grab samples were collected 0, 6, 12, and 18 h after feeding all 3 d of the sampling period, and the remaining feces was collected in the manner of total fecal collection to represent a daily composite sample. After wet sieving of each sample using a NDA kit, the retained material on sieves was dried and analyzed for DM, NDF, and starch content. Sampling day and feeding regimen did not affect distributions of nutrients. Distributions of total fecal particle DM were greater for high forage quality and high fiber content diets (14.66 to 20.37% of sample DM). The NDF content in retained material decreased with decreasing sieve size (from 89.81 to 86.86%) and was not affected by forage quality and fiber content, whereas NDF retained on NDA (% DM) followed the same pattern as the retained particle DM weight. Starch content in retained material was below 0.5% in the majority of diets. Average retained fecal particle DM and NDF content varied depending on the time after feeding, resulting in the large differences between grab fecal samples and a daily total composite sample. However, average values of retained particle DM and NDF weight for all sampling time points were similar to ones from total daily composite sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4694-4703
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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