Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Dairy Science


As world population climbs toward the 6 billion mark predicted for the turn of the century, it becomes of grave importance that we meet the challenge of human food production. In developed nations, urban sprawl is devouring land once used for agricultural purposes, while in underdeveloped nations, malnutrition is commonplace. The technology of the 21st century will need to develop new methods and means whereby grains can be increasingly used to provide the nutritional needs of humans. Therefore, animal scientists must work toward even more efficient utilization of roughages by ruminant animals. Efficient conversion of roughages to high quality human food is an ability unique to ruminants, and of the domesticated ruminants, the most efficient is the dairy cow. Sixty-four percent of the feed consumed by dairy cattle is forage (40), the remaining portion consists of feed products not fit for human consumption. Dairy cattle convert 25% of the protein and 17% of the energy consumed as feed nutrients to edible products (15). The challenge is twofold: 1) to increase the production of high quality forage, and 2) to improve utilization of that forage through more efficient use of ruminants. Amino acid composition is the prime determinant of protein content and nutritive value in cereal grains. The most limiting essential amino acid of cereal grains is lysine, followed by methionine and threonine. Of the cereal grains, oat grain contains these three essential amino acids in the greatest concentration with threonine and methionine second only to lysine. This means oat grain is nutritionally superior to other cereal grains. In the early 1970's, plant breeders adopted a systematic approach to breeding oats for increased protein content, which resulted in the release of 2 high groat protein cultivars (53). Both varieties were found to contain 5% more protein than the 289 Common cultivars of the World Oat Collection (53). In South Dakota, Spear, a high groat protein spring oat variety, as developed in 1974 from a Neal x Clintland 64 cross. When young pigs were fed a diet containing 40% Spear oats, weight gains were equal to those of an equivalent ration of corn and soybean oil meal (48), indicating a substantial reduction of protein supplement is possible when Spear oats are fed to pigs. However, forage production of high protein Spear oats, and utilization of the oat silage by ruminants has not been investigated. The major objective of this study was to determine the feeding value of high protein Spear low moisture oat silage for growing and lactating dairy cattle

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dairy cattle -- Feeding and feeds
Oats as feed
Plant proteins


Includes bibliographical references (pages 34-37)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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Included in

Dairy Science Commons