Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Animal Science

First Advisor

Lawrence B. Embrey


Mechanical processing to alter physical and possibly chemical properties is one attempt to improve the value of a feedstuff. Processing methods such as grinding and rolling reduce particle size. These methods may result in an increase in rate of passage through the digestive tract but with more total efficiency in utilization of nutrients. This has been shown for roughages where grinding of hay resulted in improved daily gain and feed efficiency over those obtained with unprocessed hay. Reduction in particle size of concentrates has not shown the response in daily gain as that for roughages. Rather, the main advantage for processing of concentrates has been improved feed efficiency. Excessively fine grinding of concentrates may induce more frequent cases of rumenitis and other gastrointestinal upsets which are important. factors to consider when processing· such feedstuffs. A wide variety of concentrates is used in beef cattle finishing rations. Many have been subject ed to several methods of processing to investigate the possibility of improving animal performance. Some of the more conventional grains for finishing cattle are corn, sorghum and barley. Traditionally, oats have been used in limited amounts for starting cattle on feed, wintering breeding flocks and herds, creep feeds and growing type rations. However, oats are a major crop in South Dakota and availability may make the grain an appropriate alternative as a major feed grain under favorable economic conditions. As a cattle feed, less supplemental protein is necessary when feeding oats due to the higher protein content. But, the energy value of oats is substantially lower than for corn, primarily due to the high percentage of hulls. Lightweight oats are composed of a higher proportion of hulls, therefore more fiber, which is why the variability in oat test weight can play a major role in feeding value. A ration of oat grain is approximately equivalent to one composed of 60 parts whole corn grain and 40 parts alfalfa hay in crude fiber and total digestible nutrients. In view of this, oats must be considered as a substitute not only for concentrate but also for roughage. Oats are the fourth largest grain crop globally and South Dakota ranks first in oat production in the United States. These facts, coupled with poorer performance from animals fed all-oat rations, indicated a need to try to improve the feeding value of oats and to more accurately describe the place of oats in growing and finishing rations for cattle. Therefore, these experiments were conducted to study whole, rolled and ground and pelleted oats as the sole grain without added roughage for feedlot steers. The experiments included feeding trials along with studies on digestibility, nitrogen balance and rumen fermentation.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Beef cattle -- Feeding and feeds



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University