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The value of creep feeding during the last 84, 56, or 28 days prior to weaning on growth performance of nursing calves grazing endophyte-infected tall fescue


Journal of Animal Science 72(5): 1084-1094
The value of creep feeding during the last 84, 56, or 28 days prior to weaning on growth performance of nursing calves grazing endophyte-infected tall fescue
To evaluate limiting the number of days that calves are creep fed, 84 crossbred cows (frame score 4) nursing steer calves were randomly assigned to three replicates over 2 yr to receive one of four lengths of creep feeding (0, 28, 56, or 84 d) for cows and calves grazing endophyte-infected tall fescue. There were no differences in cow performance due to treatments. Calf daily gain increased (P < .001) as the length of time exposed to creep increased. In yr 1, creep intake increased (P < .05) as the length to time exposed to creep increased. In yr 2, there was no difference in intake by period among 28-, 56-, and 84-d treatments. Supplemental feed efficiency was best for 56 and 84 d, and the 28-d treatment was extremely poor. During the feedlot phase, there were differences in performance between the 2 yr and there were no differences in carcass composition due to length of time receiving creep feed. Overall, creep feeding calves for 56 or 84 d improved performance, and the 56-d calves had the most efficient gain. Creep feeding calves for 28 d showed no advantage during the creep feeding period or in the feedlot. Four ruminally fistulated nursing steer calves were used in a 4 x 4 Latin square design to receive treatments of forage alone or .68 kg, 1.13 kg, or 2.27 kg/d of creep plus high-quality, freshly harvested forage available on an ad libitum basis. Forage OM intake and NDF digestibility tended (P = .11) to decrease as intake of creep feed increased. The pH decreased (P < .001), molar proportion of propionate tended to increase (P = .06), and acetate tended to decrease (P = .07) as the level of creep feed intake increased. Higher levels of creep feed tended to cause a decrease in ruminal fiber digestibility and forage intake. Creep feeding calves for 56 or 84 d improved gain; 56 d had the most efficient supplemental gain. Creep feeding calves for 28 d showed no advantage during the creep feeding period or in the feedlot.


Accession: 002530792

PMID: 8056652



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