Effects of supplementing humates on rumen fermentation in Holstein steers
Humates have nitrogen-binding qualities that could prove to be beneficial in the retention of ammonia nitrogen in the rumen of Holstein steers fed a high-concentrate finishing diet. Therefore, four ruminally fistulated Holstein steers were used in a 4 x 4 Latin Square design to determine the effects of humates (HA) on serum urea nitrogen, rumen pH, rumen ammonia nitrogen and volatile fatty acid (VFA) production. Steers were randomly assigned one of four treatments; a control (0), 5.0, 10.0 or 15.0 g/kg HA (DM basis). The steers were fed ad libitum for 21 days prior to sample collection with dry matter intake (DMI) determined from days 14 to 21. For DMI, a quadratic response was observed; lowest for 5.0 and 10.0 g/kg HA and highest for 15.0 g/kg HA compared to control. Treatment by time interactions was not observed. No treatment differences were observed for total VFA concentrations (mM), or molar proportions of acetate, propionate, butyrate or valerate, but there was a quadratic response observed for butyrate. It was determined that HA do not alter rumen fermentation of Holstein steers fed high-concentrate diets.
Keywords: Humic acid, volatile fatty acids, high-concentrate diets, serum urea nitrogen, intake