a1 AFRC Institute for Grassland and Animal Production, Hurley, Maidenhead SL6 5LR
Data on individually recorded silage dry-matter intake (SDMI), concentrate dry-matter intake (CDMI) and live weight of steers and data on silage composition including toluene dry matter (TDM), pH, total nitrogen (N), ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N), volatile fatty acids (VFAs), digestible organic matter in the dry matter (DOMD) and neutral-detergent fibre (NDF) obtained from experiments conducted at three sites were used to obtain simple and multiple linear regressions of SDMI on other variables.
Live weight accounted for a high proportion of the variation in intake but this effect could generally be removed by scaling intake by live weight raised to the power of 0·75 (M0·75). CDMI was the most important factor affecting scaled intake in mixed diets. TDM, NH,-N and VFAs all had important effects on SDMI. The relationship of SDMI with TDM was curvilinear suggesting that there is little to be gained in intake terms from wilting to TDM above 250 g/kg. The effect of NH3-N appeared to be related more to its correlation with VFAs than with any other nitrogenous constituent while the VFAs appeared to have a direct effect on SDMI. The effects of N and pH on SDMI were generally small. DOMD and NDF had relatively little effect on SDMI. Significant differences in intercepts between sites were found for most relationships although common slopes were often found.
(Received July 28 1989)
(Accepted December 12 1989)