Effects of protein concentration and degradability on performance, ruminal fermentation, and nitrogen metabolism in rapidly growing heifers fed high-concentrate diets from 100 to 230 kg body weight

M. Devant, A. Ferret, J. Gasa, S. Calsamiglia, R. Casals

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    Abstract

    Twenty crossbred heifers (101 ± 4.5 kg BW) were used to examine the effects of protein concentration and degradability on performance, ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestion, N balance, and urinary excretion of purine derivatives. Heifers were offered concentrate and barley straw for ad libitum consumption. Two protein concentrations (17 vs 14%, DM basis) and two protein sources differing in ruminal degradability (58 vs 42% of CP for soybean meal and treated soybean meal, respectively) were tested. The experiment was divided into four consecutive 28-d periods to evaluate the age (period) effect. Increasing protein concentration and degradability did not improve ADG or intake (P > .05). The increase in urinary N excretion (F < .001) in heifers fed 17% CP suggests that N was in excess of requirements. When the low-degradable protein source was supplemented and(or) CP concentration was low, ruminal NH3 N concentrations fell below 5 mg/100 mL. Urinary excretion of purine derivatives was not affected (P > .05) by protein concentration and degradability, suggesting that in high-concentrate diets NH3 N concentration was not limiting microbial growth. Total VFA concentration decreased (P < .001) and the acetate:propionate ratio increased (P < .01) with advancing period, suggesting an increase in ruminal absorption capacity and an increase in fiber fermentation. The decrease in ruminal NH3 N concentration in the last period suggests a greater use of NH3 N by microorganisms. This hypothesis is supported by the increase (P < .001) in urinary excretion of allantoin and estimated duodenal flows of purine bases and microbial protein with advancing period. Reducing CP concentration and increasing ruminai undegradable protein supply did not affect animal performance or estimated duodenal flow of microbial protein in rapidly growing heifers fed high-concentrate diets.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1667-1676
    JournalJournal of Animal Science
    Volume78
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000

    Keywords

    • Concentrates
    • Heifers
    • Nitrogen Metabolism
    • Protein
    • Rumen

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