Requirements for zero energy balance of nonlactating, pregnant dairy cows fed fresh autumn pasture are greater than currently estimated
Fifty-three nonlactating, pregnant Holstein-Friesian and Holstein-Friesian × Jersey cross dairy cows were grouped into 4 cohorts (n = 15, 12, 13, and 13) and offered 1 of 3 allowances of fresh, cut pasture indoors for 38 ± 2 d (mean ± SD). Cows were released onto a bare paddock after their meal until the following morning. Animals were blocked by age (6 ± 2 yr), day of gestation (208 ± 17 d), and body weight (BW; 526 ± 55 kg). The 3 pasture allowances [low: 7.5 kg of dry matter (DM), medium: 10.1 kg of DM, or high: 12.4 kg of DM/cow per day] were offered in individual stalls to determine the estimated DM and metabolizable energy (ME) intake required for zero energy balance. Individual cow DM intake was determined daily and body condition score was assessed once per week. Cow BW was recorded once per week in cohorts 1 and 2, and 3 times per week in cohorts 3 and 4. Low, medium, and high allowance treatments consumed 7.5, 9.4, and 10.6 kg of DM/cow per day [standard error of the difference (SED) = 0.26 kg of DM], and BW gain, including the conceptus, was 0.2, 0.6, and 0.9 kg/cow per day (SED = 0.12 kg), respectively. The ME content of the pasture was estimated from in vitro true digestibility and by near infrared spectroscopy. Total ME requirements for maintenance, pregnancy, and limited activity were 1.07 MJ of ME/kg of measured metabolic BW per day. This is more than 45% greater than current recommendations. Differences may be due to an underestimation of ME requirements for maintenance or pregnancy, an overestimation of diet metabolizability, or a combination of these. Further research is necessary to determine the reasons for the greater ME requirements measured in the present study, but the results are important for on-farm decisions regarding feed allocation for nonlactating, pregnant dairy cows. © 2013 American Dairy Science Association.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsmaintenance energy; cattle; body weight gain; pregnancy; Dairy & Animal Science; Animals; Weight Gain; Diet; Seasons; Energy Metabolism; Energy Intake; Nutritional Requirements; Lactation; Animal Feed; Female; Herbivory
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Copyright © 2013 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.