1E1 Feeding Barley Grain by jlhd32


Barley can help rid the body of waste and promote metabolism.

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                                         Feeding Barley Grain -
                                         Effect of Bushel Weight
                                                  Dale F. Engstrom

Take Home Message
                            Bushel weight is easily measured and commonly used to place
                             a relative market value on barley samples.
                            Heavier barley has higher starch and lower fibre levels that
                             lighter barley.
                            Average daily gain of cattle fed barley based finishing diets is
                             not affected by bushel weight.
                            Feed: gain ratios are moderately affected by bushel weight.
                            Based on differences in feed:gain ratios, barley economic value
                             can be discounted approximately 1% for each pound of bushel
                             weight below the normal 48 pounds/bushel. Canada No. 1
                             Feed is 48 pounds/bushel (59 kg/hL).
                            Grains of different bushel weight should be processed before
                             mixing to ensure uniform processing.

                             Barley has been grown by man since 3,000 BC and is the grain
                             most often fed to growing and finishing beef cattle in Alberta.
                             Moisture content, dockage and bushel weight are commonly
                             measured and used to calculate economic value when barley
                             is bought or sold.

                             Bushel weight or the number of pounds per bushel volume is
                             an imperial measure. The metric equivalent of bushel weight is
                             called volume weight and the units are kilograms per
                             hectolitre (kg/hL). To convert from pounds/bushel to kg/hL
                             multiply by 1.25. Other terms that are used interchangeably
                             with bushel or volume weight are test weight and bulk density.
                             Weight per 1,000 grain kernels, sometimes seen in research
                             reports, is not the same as bushel weight.

Alberta Feedlot Management Guide                                                     1E1:1
Factors Affecting Bushel Weight
                                Conditions during growing and harvesting affect the bushel
                                weight of barley. These conditions include drought, frost
                                before maturity and sprouting in the swath. There are also
                                differences in bushel weight between barley varieties and
                                types. Two row types are generally heavier than the six row
                                types of barley.
                                Bushel weight is related to the amount of starch in barley
                                grain; generally the greater the bushel weight the greater the
                                starch content. The relationship between bushel weight and
                                the various fibre components is negative; the higher the fibre
                                the lower the bushel weight.

Digestible Energy and Bushel Weight
                                Digestion studies with ruminants (e.g. cattle, sheep) and
                                monogastrics (e.g. hogs, poultry) have not shown a consistent
                                relationship between bushel weight and digestible energy
                                content. This is not surprising since it is difficult to conduct
                                research trials where bushel weight is the only variable. Other
                                factors such as variety, degree of grain processing, protein and
                                fibre content, feed intake and foreign material content can all
                                have an impact on digestion efficiency. Table 1 shows the
                                results of a trial in which bushel weight varied by 153 % from
                                lowest to highest, but the impact on digestibility of dry matter
                                and digestible energy content was less than 5.8%. While the
                                                                              heavier three barleys
 Table 1. Effect of bushel weight on digestibility and energy value.          were more
                                     Bushel Weight (pounds/bushel)            digestible than the
                                    34.4       47.2       51.2     52.8       lightest one, there
 Digestible Dry Matter (%)         78.3b      80.3a      82.0a     80.1a      were no significant
 Digestible Energy (Mcal/kg)        3.00       3.03       3.12     3.02       differences in the
                                                                              digestible energy
 From Mathison et al. (2). Intake level was 1.6% to 1.7% of body              values.
 weight. The three lightest barleys were of the same variety grown in
 the same area of Alberta.

Bushel Weight And Cattle Performance in the Feedlot
                                During the 1980’s three finishing trials were conducted in
                                Alberta utilizing dry and steam rolled barley of different
                                bushel weights. The results show that bushel weight does not
                                affect average daily gain in finishing cattle (Table 2). Daily
                                gain is not affected because, on high energy finishing rations,
                                gut fill is not a limiting factor. Cattle can consume slightly
                                more pounds of a low bushel weight barley to meet their need

Alberta Feedlot Management Guide                                                         1E1:2
                                 for energy. There does appear to be a moderate effect on
                                 feed:gain ratio when the weight of barley is below 48 pounds
                                 per bushel, the standard set for No. 1 Feed Barley by the
                                 Canada Grain Act, 1970.
                                 Averaging the results of the first two studies (Table 2) indicates
                                 that feed:gain ratio is reduced by about 1.0% for each pound
                                 of bushel weight below 47 pounds. Thus, loss in feed efficiency
                                 is one factor to consider when placing a value on light weight
                                 barley. However, the results of all three trials show no
                                 significant improvement in feed:gain ratios for heavy bushel
                                 weight barleys, so a premium is not justified.

Processing Barley of Various Bushel Weights
                                 In the three trials summarized in Table 2, the method of
                                 processing the barley (dry versus steam rolling) had no effect
                                 on feedlot cattle performance regardless of the bushel
                                 weights. However, the feedlot manager should pay close
                                 attention to the quality of processing when grains of varying
                                 bushel weights are used. Bushel weight is related to kernel
                                 plumpness and lighter weight barley will not be processed to
                                 the same extent as heavier barley with same roller settings. For
                                 this reason grains of different bushel weight should be
                                 processed before mixing with other grains rather than after.
                                 For a thorough discussion of processing see Processing Feed

 Table 2. Summary of three Alberta feedlot trials.
           Bushel Weight         Average Daily
          (pounds/bushel)           Gain (kg)         Feed:Gain Ratio
 Grimson et al. (1) - 192 yearling steers, 85% barley in finishing ration
                  37.8                 1.62                 5.80b
                  44.4                 1.72                 5.32a
                  53.3                 1.69                 5.26a
 Mathison et al. (2) - 90 yearling steers, 81.6 % barley in finishing ration
                  34.4                 1.63                  6.29
                  47.2                 1.67                  5.89
                  51.2                 1.65                  6.00
 Engstrom et al. (3) - 120 yearling steers, 81.8% barley in finishing ration
                  45.5                 1.57                  6.12
                  47.1                 1.49                  6.35
                  47.6                 1.55                  6.34
                  53.0                 1.53                  5.97
                  53.8                 1.56                  5.85
                  56.4                 1.56                  5.92

Alberta Feedlot Management Guide                                                         1E1:3
Discounting Low Bushel Weight Barley
                              Reduced feed efficiency and increased management of
                              processing have been discussed as factors that make
                              discounting low bushel weight necessary. Other factors to be
                              considered include increased trucking, storage, and feed
                              delivery costs due to a the reduced capacity of equipment
                              handling low bushel weight barley. Individual operators may
                              have other reasons for additional discounts that are specific to
                              their own feedlot. The format in Table 3 can be used to
                              compare the discounts for barley of various bushel weights.

 Table 3. Discounting Barley for Low Bushel Weight.
                                     Discounts (%)
 Bushel Weight    Feed        +     Inconvenience            =             Total
    lb/bus     Efficiency
      47           0.0       +                               =
      46           1.0       +                               =
      45           2.0       +                               =
      44           3.0       +                               =
      43           4.0       +                               =
      42           5.0       +                               =
      41           6.0       +                               =
      40           7.0       +                               =
      39           8.0       +                               =
      38           9.0       +                               =
      37          10.0       +                               =
      36          11.0       +                               =

                              1. R.E Grimson et al. 1987. Effects of barley volume-weight and processing
                                 method on feedlot performance of finishing steers. Canadian Journal of Animal
                                 Science 67:43-53.
                              2. G. W. Mathison et al. 1991. Rate of starch degradation, apparent digestibility
                                 and rate and efficiency of steer gain as influenced by barley grain volume-
                                 weight and processing method. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 71:867-
                              3. D.F. Engstrom et al. 1991. Effect of beta-glucan, starch, and fibre content and
                                 steam vs. dry rolling of barley grain on its degradability and utilisation by
                                 steers. Animal Feed Science and Technology 37:33-46.

Alberta Feedlot Management Guide                                                                     1E1:4

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