Effect of Dietary Protein Level and Quebracho Tannin on Consumption of Pine Needles (Pinus Ponderosa) by Beef Cows
The Professional Animal Scientist
Ponderosa pine trees occupy over 15 million hectares of rangeland in western North America. Pregnant cows often consume pine needles (PN), and subsequently abort. The protein-to-energy ratio may be important in the ability of cattle to tolerate dietary terpenes. Tannins often co-occur with terpenes and may also influence diet selection. The objective of this experiment was to determine if the protein-to-energy ratio or the addition of quebracho tannin to cattle diets would influence PN consumption. In trial 1, 15 cows in moderate body condition were assigned to high (15.4% CP), medium (10.2% CP), or low (4.9% CP) dietary protein treatments for 12 d. In trial 2, 15 cows were assigned to high (5%), medium (2.5%), or no (0%) quebracho tannin diets for 8 d. In both trials, green PN were offered at 0930 h for 90 min. There was a treatment effect (P = 0.05) and a treatment × day interaction (P = 0.01) for PN consumption, as cattle on the high CP treatment consumed more PN than cattle on the medium and low CP diets for 4 and 6 d, respectively. Initially, treatments did not differ (P > 0.09), but from d 3 to 9 cattle on the high CP treatment ate more PN than the other treatments. There was a day × treatment interaction (P = 0.002) for PN consumption; cattle on the 2.5% tannin treatment consumed less PN than did animals on the other treatments. Cattle are apparently unable to tolerate high quantities of PN terpenes on a low-protein diet. Tannins may influence PN consumption, but the mechanism is unknown.
Pfister, J.A., J.J. Villalba, and D.Gardner. 2012. Effect of dietary protein level and quebracho tannin on consumption of pine needles (Pinus ponderosa) by beef cows. Professional Animal Scientist. 28: 528-533. https://doi.org/10.15232/S1080-7446(15)30401-0