Substitution of soybean meal for urea in diets based on deferred buffelgrass hay for feedlot sheep

ABSTRACT The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of substituting soybean meal for urea in diets based on deferred buffelgrass on the performance of feedlot sheep. Thirty mixed-breed sheep with an average initial body weight of 17±1.5 kg were distributed in a completely randomized design in which the experimental treatments consisted of five diets with six replicates. Diets were composed of deferred buffelgrass plus concentrates and calculated to be isoproteic. Treatments were represented by the substitution of soybean meal for the urea levels (0, 25, 50, 75, and 100%). Nutrient intake did not differ among animals fed diets with urea levels. Hot and cold carcass weights, hot and cold carcass dressing percentages, initial and final pH, and weight of commercial cuts did not differ among animal fed diets with urea levels. There was no difference for non-carcass components among animals, except for the empty carcass, gall bladder, and perirenal fat weights, which were influenced by dietary urea levels. Substituting the crude protein from soybean meal for the protein from urea provides a similar performance in sheep consuming deferred buffelgrass.