Owing to the magnitude and importance of the production of citrus fruits pulp, soybeans and corn in Brazil, considerable research has focused on the main feedstuffs, co-products, and/or byproducts of these crops. The present study is aimed at comparing the ruminal degradability parameters of corn and non-starchy energy sources with high pectin content, including soybean hulls and citrus pulp, through meta-analysis. The experiments were designed to include parameters related to potential and effective degradability of the concentrates of these energy feeds. The database (DB) was composed of 62 treatments obtained from 20 papers. No difference (P>0.05) was observed in any of the ruminal degradability parameters of the dry matter (DM) or crude protein (CP), demonstrating that the total replacement of corn grain by non-starch feed is possible. The degradation rates of DM were 6.78 and 6.14%.h-1 and those of CP were 5.97 and 5.93%.h-1, for corn and non-starch feeds, respectively. Therefore, depending on the cost, corn grain could be substituted by soybean hulls or citrus pulps, which reduce the possibility of the occurrence of metabolic disorders, such as subclinical and/or clinical acidosis, without affecting ruminal fermentation.
Key words: Starch, citrus pulps, soybean hulls, energy, pectin, degradability, non-starch feed, acidosis.
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