Nitrogen retention by lambs fed oscillating dietary protein concentrations
Journal of Animal Science 77(1): 215-222
Nitrogen excreted by beef cattle can be retained in manure or lost by volatilization to the atmosphere or by runoff and percolation into surface or ground water. Increasing the retention of dietary N should decrease environmental losses. To this end, the effects of oscillating concentrations of dietary CP on nutrient retention were determined using lambs fed a 90% concentrate diet. Ten St. Croix lambs (average BW = 27 kg) were used in two 5x5 Latin square experiments. Dietary treatments were as follows: 1) 10% CP, 2) 12.5% CP, 3) 15% CP, 4) 10% and 15% CP diets oscillated at 24-h intervals, and 5) 10% and 15% CP diets oscillated at 48-h intervals. Supplemental N was provided by cottonseed meal in Trial 1 and by a 50:50 (N basis) blend of cottonseed meal and urea in Trial 2. Each period of the Latin square lasted 35 d, with excreta collection the final 8 d. Nitrogen retention increased linearly (P<.01) with increasing N intake in both trials (.77, 1.33, and 1.89 g/d for 10, 12.5, and 15% CP, respectively, in Trial 1; .94, 1.78, and 2.19 g/d for 10, 12.5, and 15% CP, respectively, in Trial 2). Compared with continuously feeding the 12.5% CP diet, oscillating the 10 and 15% CP diets on a 24-h basis did not affect N retention (P>.10) in either trial (1.62 and 1.56 g/d for Trials 1 and 2, respectively). Oscillating dietary CP at 48-h intervals did not affect N retention in Trial 2 (1.82 g/d) but increased (P<.05) N retention by 38% in Trial 1 (1.87 g/d). Phosphorus, K, and Na retention and excretion were not affected by dietary treatments in Trial 1. In Trial 2, P retention increased (linear, P<.05) with increasing dietary CP and was greater (P<.05) in lambs on the 48-h oscillation treatment than in lambs fed the 12.5% CP diet. These results suggest that oscillating the dietary CP concentrations might potentially increase the utilization of N by ruminants fed high-concentrate diets.