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1. Six Hereford and six Brahman steers were fed ad lib. Pangola grass (Digztaria decumbens) and Spear grass (Heteropogon contortus) hay alone and supplemented with rumen-degradable nitrogen and sulphur and minerals. The rumen digestion of the two feeds was determined by reference to the disappearance of substrate from nylon bags suspended in the rumen and withdrawn after intervals ranging from 8 to 120 h.
2. The digestion of the unsupplemented Pangola grass diet occurred more rapidly in Brahmans than in Herefords and was associated with higher rumen ammonia concentrations in Brahmans (40 v. 16 mg/l). The rumen NH3, concentrations were increased to over 100 mg/l by supplementation. The digestion rate increased in both breeds after supplementation and the breed difference disappeared. Increases in digestion rate were not achieved above NH3, concentrations of 60–80 mg/l.
3. Spear grass, especially the cell-wall-constituent fraction, was more resistant to digestion than Pangola grass. Digestion of the unsupplemented Spear grass diet proceeded more rapidly in Brahmans than in Herefords. The digestion rate in Brahmans were similar irrespective of whether the diet was supplemented or not. Supplementation increased digestion rate in Herefords.