Ruminal in vitro protein degradation and apparent digestibility of energy and nutrients in sheep fed native or ensiled + toasted pea (Pisum sativum) grains
Pea grains may partially replace soybean or rapeseed meals and cereals in ruminant diets, but substitution by unprocessed peas is limited by high ruminal protein solubility. The effect of combined ensiling and toasting of peas using a mobile toaster (100 kg/h throughput rate, 180 to 190°C supplied air temperature) on rumen-undegraded protein (RUP) was tested in vitro using the Streptomyces griseus protease test. The effects of ensiling plus toasting on apparent digestibility of organic matter (OM), gross energy (GE), and proximate nutrients were examined in a digestion trial. Concentrations of metabolizable energy (ME) and net energy lactation (NEL) were calculated. Native peas had 38 g RUP/kg dry matter (DM), which was 20% of crude protein (CP). Rumen-undegraded protein increased three-fold after ensiling plus toasting (p < 0.001). Acid detergent insoluble protein increased five-fold. Apparent digestibility was 0.94 (OM), 0.90 (CP), and above 0.99 (nitrogen-free extract, starch, and sugars) and was not altered by the treatment. The ME (13.9 MJ/kg DM) or the NEL (8.9 MJ/kg DM) concentration was similar in native and ensiled plus toasted peas. This technique can easily be applied on farms and may increase RUP. However, it needs to be clarified under which conditions pea protein will be damaged.