Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences


Randall D. Wiedmier


Three experiments were conducted to evaluate low quality forages treatment by anhydrous ammonia (NH3) and(or) hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).

In experiment I, a control and three treatments of barley straw were compared: NH3, NH3 after rehydration of the straw with water (NH3+H2O), and NH3 after rehydration with a H2O2 solution (NH3+H2O2). Forages were fed, with a supplement, at two levels of intake (ad libitum and 75% of ad lib.). Treatments were administered in a split-plot in a Latin square design to 8 ewes. Total collections and rumen digesta measurements were made. Ammoniation, rehydration, and H2O2 increased primarily dry matter intake (DMI) but also digestibility of different nutrients. A similar trend was observed in rumen fermentation characteristics. Dry matter (DM) digestibility was slightly raised by limiting DMI. Digestible DMI (DDMI) was correlated with both the increase of forage CP content and the decrease of forage neutral detergent fiber. Water intake and output were highly correlated with fiber. Intake and digestibility better than acid detergent lignin insoluble ash (ADLIA). Both markers were adequate in determining hemicellulose digestibility.

In experiment II, ten solutions were prepared to rehydrate wheat straw. Six solutions were adjusted (with NaOH) to a pH of 9, 11, or 13 and contained 2% H2O2. Four solutions had a pH of 7 or 11 and contained no H2O2. Half of the straws were treated with NH3. In situ DM disappearance (DMD) of the different straws was measured at different times in 10 Holstein cows and three periods (Incomplete block design). The evolution of DMD was slow and almost linear. The positive effect of ammoniation on DMD was consistently apparent at all pH levels though depressed at pH 11. The effect of H2O2 was minor, but was complementary with ammoniation.

In experiment III, mature baltic rush (Juncus balticus Willd.) was either treated or not with NH3. Eight wethers had ad libitum access to the nonsupplemented forages in a cross-over design. total collections and rumen digesta measurements were made. DMI and DDMI were not affected by treatment, but DM digestibility was decreased by ammoniation.