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Reducing crude protein and rumen degradable protein with a constant concentration of rumen undegradable protein in the diet of dairy cows: Production performance, nutrient digestibility, nitrogen efficiency, and blood metabolites



Reducing crude protein and rumen degradable protein with a constant concentration of rumen undegradable protein in the diet of dairy cows: Production performance, nutrient digestibility, nitrogen efficiency, and blood metabolites



Journal of Animal Science 94(2): 718-725



The goals of ruminant protein nutrition are to provide adequate amounts of RDP for optimal ruminal efficiency and to obtain the desired animal productivity with a minimum amount of dietary CP. The aim of the present study was to examine effects of decreasing dietary protein by decreasing RDP with the optimum concentration of RUP on production performance, nutrient digestibility, N retention, rumen fermentation parameters, and blood metabolites in high-producing Holstein cows in early lactation. Nine multiparous lactating cows (second parities, averaging 50 ± 12 d in milk and milk yield of 48 ± 5 kg/d) were used in a triplicate 3 × 3 Latin square design with 3 rations: 1) a total mixed ration (TMR) containing 16.4% CP (10.9% RDP based on DM), 2) a TMR containing 15.6% CP (10% RDP), and 3) a TMR containing 14.8% CP (9.3% RDP). The level of RUP was constant at 5.5% DM across the treatments. All diets were calculated to supply a postruminal lysine to methionine ratio of about 3:1. Dry matter intake, milk yield and composition, 4% fat-corrected milk, and energy-corrected milk were not significantly affected by decreasing dietary CP and RDP levels. Cows fed 16.4% CP diets had greater ( < 0.01) CP and RDP intakes, which resulted in a trend toward greater concentrations of plasma urea N compared with other treatments. Daily N intake linearly decreased ( < 0.01) with decreasing dietary CP and RDP levels, whereas the intake of RUP and fecal N excretion (g/d) did not change. Apparent digestibility of nutrients, ruminal pH, and NH-N concentration were not affected with decreasing dietary CP and RDP levels. Apparent N efficiency increased, and RDP N intake and predicted urine N output decreased with decreased concentration of dietary CP and RDP in the diets ( < 0.01). Blood metabolites were not affected by treatments. In conclusion, to improve the efficiency of N utilization by early-lactation dairy cows, 9.3% RDP in rations provides adequate protein to optimize milk production while minimizing N excretion in urine when the amounts of lysine and methionine and the lysine to methionine ratio are balanced with sufficient dietary RUP.

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Accession: 058717073

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 27065142

DOI: 10.2527/jas.2015-9947


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