Rolled oats can replace rolled barley in beef diets without hitting performance - research
Research has found that rolled oats can replace rolled barley in a concentrate supplement without effecting the performance of beef cattle
The research was carried out by Mark McGee and Aidan Moloney in Teagasc, Grange who compared the effects of replacing rolled barley with rolled oats in a supplement on intake, growth, carcass and selected meat quality traits of late-maturing breed steers (initial live weight, 443kg), over a 134-day finishing period.
Animals were housed in pens in a slatted floor shed and offered grass silage (dry matter digestibility, 713g/kg) ad libitum plus 4.0kg dry matter (in two feeds) daily, of one of two concentrate supplements:
- One barley-based ‘control’ (862g rolled barley, 60g soya bean meal, 50g molasses, and 28g minerals and vitamins/kg fresh weight)
- The other oat based (853g rolled oats, 70g soya bean meal, 50g molasses, and 27g minerals and vitamins/kg fresh weight)
Concentrates were prepared as coarse mixtures.
Replacement of barley with oats in the concentrate supplement had no effect on silage dry matter intake, average daily live weight gain, feed conversion ratio, slaughter and carcass weight, kill-out proportion, ultrasonic measures of body muscle and fat gain, and carcass conformation and carcass fat score.
Muscle colour, pH and drip loss, and subcutaneous fat colour did not differ between the two concentrates.
In conclusion, the researchers said that under the conditions of the experiment, rolled oats can replace rolled barley in a concentrate supplement to high-digestibility grass silage, without negatively affecting performance or selected meat quality traits of beef cattle.