Effects of crude protein concentration and degradability on performance, carcass characteristics, and serum urea nitrogen concentrations in finishing beef steers
Gleghorn, J.F.; Elam, N.A.; Galyean, M.L.; Duff, G.C.; Cole, N.A.; Rivera, J.D.
Journal of Animal Science 82(9): 2705-2717
ISSN/ISBN: 0021-8812 PMID: 15446487 DOI: 10.2527/2004.8292705x
Two experiments were conducted at two locations to determine the effects of dietary CP concentration and source on performance, carcass characteristics, and serum urea nitrogen (SUN) concentrations of finishing beef steers. British x Continental steers were blocked by BW (357 +/- 28 and 305 +/- 25 kg initial BW; n = 360 and 225; four and five pens per treatment in Exp. 1 and 2, respectively). Steam-flaked corn-based diets were arranged in a 3 x 3 factorial with three CP concentrations (11.5, 13, or 14.5% of DM) and three sources of supplemental CP (N basis): 100% urea; 50:50 blend of urea and cottonseed meal; or 100% cottonseed meal. Steers in both experiments were initially implanted with Ralgro and reimplanted with Revalor-S on d 56. Performance and carcass data were pooled across locations. Crude protein concentration x source interactions were not observed (P = 0.22 to 0.93) for performance and carcass data. Crude protein concentration affected ADG (P = 0.02) and carcass-adjusted (to a common dressing percent within location) ADG quadratically (P = 0.06). Increasing the concentration of supplemental urea linearly increased carcass-adjusted ADG and G:F (P < 0.05) and carcass-adjusted G:F (P < 0.001). Dry matter intake was not affected (P = 0.93) by either CP concentration or source. Hot carcass weight (HCW; P = 0.02), LM area (P = 0.05), and dressing percent (P = 0.03) increased linearly with increasing urea concentration, whereas increasing CP concentration quadratically affected HCW (P = 0.02), with a maximum at 13% CP. Differences in backfat thickness and yield grade were negligible across treatments. Neither marbling score nor percentage of carcasses grading USDA Choice was affected by CP concentration or source. At all times measured, SUN concentrations increased (P < 0.05) with increasing CP concentration, but effects of CP source were small and variable across time. Results indicate that increasing CP concentrations from 11.5 to 13% slightly increased ADG and carcass-adjusted ADG, whereas increasing the proportion of supplemental urea increased carcass-adjusted ADG, G:F, and carcass-adjusted G:F and increased HCW, LM area, and dressing percent. A CP concentration above 13% seemed detrimental to ADG and HCW. Serum urea N increased over time, with CP concentration having a greater effect than CP source.