Section 66
Chapter 65,917

Short communication: Milk urea nitrogen as a predictor of urinary nitrogen and urea nitrogen excretions of late-lactation dairy cows fed nitrogen-limiting diets

Barros, T.; Reed, K.F.; Olmos Colmenero, J.J.; Wattiaux, M.A.

Journal of Dairy Science 102(2): 1601-1607


ISSN/ISBN: 0022-0302
PMID: 30471912
DOI: 10.3168/jds.2018-14551
Accession: 065916272

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Our objectives were to assess the relationships between milk urea N (MUN), serum urea N (SUN), urine N (UN), and urinary urea N (UUN) in late-lactation cows fed N-limiting diets and compare these relationships with those previously established. Data were from a pen-based study in which 128 Holstein cows had been assigned to 1 of 16 pens in a randomized complete block design to assess the effects of diets containing 16.2, 14.4, 13.1, and 11.8% crude protein (CP, dry matter basis) during a 12-wk period. At least half of the cows in each pen were randomly selected to collect pen-level samples of serum and urine in wk 3, 7, and 11, when wk in lactation averaged 35, 39, and 43, respectively. A mixed model was developed to study the relationship of MUN with SUN, UN, and UUN. Week of lactation did not affect the relation between MUN and SUN across dietary treatments. However, we found a week × MUN interaction, suggesting that between wk 35 and 43 of lactation, UN excretion decreased from 89 to 73 g/d (-17 g/d) when MUN was 6.0 mg/dL (11.8% dietary CP) but increased from 142 to 149 g/d (+7 g/d) when MUN was 13.3 mg/dL (16.2% dietary CP). These effects were essentially due to changes in UUN excretion, which declined from 54 to 37 g/d (-17 g/d) and increased from 112 to 117 g/d (+5 g/d) when MUN was 6.0 and 13.3 mg/dL, respectively. When MUN was 11.2 mg/dL (15% dietary CP), UN and UUN excretions remained constant over time. Based on root mean squared prediction error and the concordance correlation coefficient, these data did not conform to most previously published prediction equations because of both mean and slope biases. The discrepancy could have resulted from difference in study design (cow vs. pen as experimental unit), dietary treatments (energy vs. N-limiting diets), frequency of measurement and duration of adaptation period (single measurement after 1 to 3 wk of adaptation vs. repeated measurements over a 12-wk period), method for determining urine volume (total collection vs. spot sampling), and the assay used to measure MUN. However, our data captured changes in kidney physiology that warrant further studies of long-term renal adaptation to N-limiting diets.

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