Voluntary intake of low-protein diets by ruminants I Intake of food by cattle

Elliott, R.C.

J Agr Sci: 375-382


Accession: 026091013

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A study was made of the voluntary intake of hay, of low nutritive value, by heifers of 2 breeds of African cattle when given 4 different amounts of concentrate foods (9, 18, 27 and 36 g/kg W0.73/day) each providing 3 levels of protein (1.3, 2.6 and 3.9 g DCP kg W0.73/day) [DCP = Digestible Crude Protein]. The trial was designed as 2 incomplete Latin squares, one for each breed, with 13 treatments, 13 heifers and 4 replicates. Voluntary intakes of low-protein hay be by Africander and Mashona heifers were similar and these increased as levels of supplementary protein were raised and intakes of hay were reduced as amounts of concentrate provided to them became more liberal. Inter-relationships of food intake and dietary composition were very complex. Increased allowances of dietary protein and of concentrate corresponded with higher intakes of total food and digestible energy. But this was not true at the lower levels of protein input where there was evidence that food and digestible nutritient intakes were depressed when liberal amounts of concentrate were fed to the cattle. The voluntary intake of digestible energy by cattle would be adequate to meet their maintenance energy needs if they are offered diets which furnish minimal protein needs for maintenance.