Rumen Health Technical Guide

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Manure Consistency


Manure content, color and consistency are predictors of rumen digestion.

Manure consistency is often considered by producers and farm advisers as a predictor of rumen digestion. Different aspects are usually taken into account when observing manure consistency.21ReferenceView allHutjens M. F. 2010
University of Illinois. Manureology 101.
 
35ReferenceView allKononof P., Heinrichs J., and Varga G.
Using Manure Evaluation to Enhance Dairy Cattle Nutrition. Penn State University Extension.

Content

When the presence of large portions of undigested, but processed, grain and/or forage particles are visible in manure, it may be an indication of poor rumen fermentation. Low rumen pH (which impairs rumen microflora activity) coupled with a high passage rate, can lead to a reduction of starch and fiber digestion in the rumen.20ReferenceView allHall M. B. 2002.
Characteristics of manure: what do they mean? Proceedings of the Tri-State Nutrition Conference. Pages 141-147. April 16-17, 2002

The presence of large amounts of undigested grain may be an indication of:

  • Improper processing (i.e. hard kernels from corn silage) or
  • Poor rumen digestion (even if well-processed). This could be due to inadequate fiber intake, which stimulates rumination and maintains optimal rumen pH.
Manure with visible grain and/or large forage particles
Manure with visible grain and/or large forage particles

Color and Consistency

An example of non-optimal rumen digestion is when: finely ground grain passes quickly through the rumen, which can appear as a yellow color in dried manure; this grain can ferment in the lower gut inducing a mucus layer on the surface of the manure, which is a sign of chronic inflammationGlossaryView allChronic inflammation
Response of the immune system to transformations of the environment. Chronic inflammation can’t be cured spontaneously and can to worsen.
or injury to the gut tissue. Manure that contains bubbles or foam may indicate acidosis or excessive hindgut fermentation, which causes gas production.

Manure consistency scale
Manure consistency scale