Weight gain, feed: Gain ratio and carcass characteristics of calves fed diets with different levels of forage

Araujo, G.G. Leal, D. Silva, J.F. Coelho, D. Valadares Filho, S.D.C.; Campos, O.F. De; Pereira, J.C.; Signoretti, R.D.; Turco, S.H. Nogueira; Texeira, F.V.

Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 27(5): 1006-1012


ISSN/ISBN: 1516-3598
Accession: 011649916

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The objective of this research was to evaluate the effects of roughage levels in the ration on the total dry matter intake (TDMI), daily weight gain (DWG), feed:gain ratio and carcass characteristics. Thirty two intact Holstein Zebu calves, 60 days old with initial mean live weight (LW) of 60 kg, on a completely randomized design were fed concentrate and chopped Coast-cross (Cynodon dactylon) grass hay ad libitum in the following levels: T1=10%, T2=25%, T3=40% and T4=55%, on a DM basis. The dietary protein level in the DM was 16%. Total digestible nutrients (TDN) levels decreased with the increasing of hay in the diet. The animals were slaughtered at 300 kg (group 1) and 180 kg (group 2). TDMI showed a curvilinear behavior with the increasing of roughage level in the diet and the maximum estimated TDMI was 3.69 kg/day for the level of 54.42% of roughage. The feed:gain ratio expressed in LW or in empty body weight basis increased linearly whereas final empty body weight and hot carcass weight decreased linearly with the increasing of the roughage level in the diet for both animal groups. The daily weight gain at 28 days DWG28 for animals in group 1 and DWG28, DWG56, and DWG84 for group 2, were reduced with the increasing of roughage level in the diet and the respective values varied from .94 to .66, .82 to .60, 1.05 to .60 and 1.20 to .63 kg/day.