FORAGES AND FEEDS: Original Research| Volume 36, ISSUE 5, P592-599, October 2020

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Eucalyptus bark: A new source of fiber from the wood pulp industry for feeding to beef feedlot cattle



      Our objectives were to compare the effects of feeding eucalyptus bark or eucalyptus wood chips, both by-products from the pulp industry, on voluntary feed intake, animal performance, and physiological variables of heifers finished on high-concentrate diets.

      Materials and Methods

      Forty-eight British-breed heifers (Angus, Hereford, and their crosses) that were 22 to 24 mo of age and had an initial BW of 355 ± 8 kg were used. Four heifers were allocated to each of the 12 pens (experimental units). The experiment was a randomized complete block design with 2 treatments and 6 replications each. The 2 different fiber sources (wood chips or bark) were included in the fattening diet in the same proportion (8.9% DM basis). The rest of the ingredients in the diet were the same. The final diet was offered 3 times per day, and heifers were fed for 84 d.

      Results and Discussion

      Fiber source (wood chips vs. bark) did not affect ADG or G:F (P > 0.10). However, DMI (P < 0.01), DP (P = 0.04), and hot carcass weight (P = 0.06) were greater in heifers fed with bark compared with those fed with wood chips. Heifers from the bark treatment spent less time (P = 0.02) chewing than heifers from the wood chips treatment.

      Implications and Applications

      In conclusion, bark could be used as a source of fiber for finishing cattle in high-concentrate diets at the same levels as wood chips. This finding is relevant for the feedlot industry because eucalyptus bark has no industrial uses and would represent a cheaper fiber source than wood chips.

      Key words

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