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Nitrogen utilization, preweaning nutrient digestibility, and growth effects of Holstein dairy calves fed 2 amounts of a moderately high protein or conventional milk replacer



Nitrogen utilization, preweaning nutrient digestibility, and growth effects of Holstein dairy calves fed 2 amounts of a moderately high protein or conventional milk replacer



Journal of Dairy Science 100(1): 279-292



Studies have shown that calves fed milk replacers (MR) with crude protein (CP) concentrations greater than 20%, as typically found in conventional MR, have higher dry matter intakes (DMI) and greater average daily gains (ADG) but consume less starter, which can lead to stress during weaning and reduced rumen development. The greater amount of CP being fed to preweaned calves may alter their nitrogen (N) balance, and excess N may be excreted in the urine. The objective of this study was to determine N utilization in preweaned calves fed diets varying in the amount of CP and MR fed. This study used 24 newborn dairy heifer calves blocked by birth and randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatments: (1) 446g dry matter (DM) of a conventional MR (CON; 20% CP, 20% fat), (2) 669g DM of a moderately high protein MR (moderate; MOD; 26% CP, 18% fat), or (3) 892g DM of a moderately high protein MR (aggressive; AGG; 26% CP, 18% fat). All calves had ad libitum access to starter and water. Both MR and starter were medicated with decoquinate. During weaning (d 43-49), the morning MR feeding ceased. On d 50, all MR feedings ended; however, starter and water intakes were continuously recorded until d 56. At 5wk of age, urine was collected using urinary catheters for 3d and chromium oxide was administered by bolus at 2g/d for 7d to estimate N efficiency. Calves fed MOD and AGG had similar starter intakes, feed efficiencies, and ADG, with the combined treatments having reduced starter intakes (258 vs. 537g/d), greater ADG (674 vs. 422g/d), and improved feed efficiency (0.57 vs. 0.45 gain:feed) compared with CON calves preweaning. However, DMI and water intake were similar across all treatments. Results from the N utilization phase showed that MOD and AGG treatments had similar but lower N efficiency compared with CON calves (45.5 vs. 52.7%). This could be due to MOD- and AGG-fed calves having greater urine volume and thereby, greater combined urine N output compared with CON calves (17.6 vs. 12.1 g/d). In summary, feeding >0.66kg (DM) from a 26% CP MR increased ADG and improved feed efficiency during the preweaning period but reduced starter intake and lowered N efficiency.

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Accession: 058410197

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 27865505

DOI: 10.3168/jds.2016-11886


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