Rice Straw as a Partial Substi-
tute for Alfalfa Hay - 2005



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Project Leader and Principal UC Investigators

Richard A. Zinn, professor, Dept. of Animal Science, UC Davis




This is the continuation of a project examining how to make rice straw more palatable and more nutritious as a cattle feed. Research has been taking place in Southern California at the University of California’s Desert Research and Extension Center. Previous research established that mechanically processing or “macerating” rice straw improved its forage value.

A six-month trial with 125 Holstein steers examined how maceration affects the feeding value of rice straw. Different treatments consisted of a 15 percent ration added to a steam-flaked, corn-based diet. The rations included sudangrass hay, ground rice straw, ground rice straw with surfactant, macerated rice straw and macerated rice straw with surfactant. Macerated rice straw-supplemented diets increased carcass weight, dressing percentage and grade quality. Use of a surfactant did not affect growth performance or carcass characteristics. Researchers concluded that maceration increased the feed value of rice straw to a level similar to that of good-quality sudangrass hay.

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