To investigate whether feeding strategies to reduce urinary N excretion would have negative effects on calf development, two feeding systems were compared. A total of 190 pregnant, Friesian × Jersey dairy cows were randomly allocated to one of two groups and offered either a low crude protein diet of maize silage and fodder beet (LCP) or a moderate CP diet of lucerne silage and fodder beet (MCP) for eight weeks prior to calving. Apparent metabolisable energy (ME) intake of dams was similar (110 MJME/cow/day) but CP concentration was greater for MCP than LCP (13.4 vs 7.5% of the DM). There was no effect of maternal diet on calf birth weight (33.0±0.5 kgLW) or morphometric measurements; heart girth (72.8±0.5) spine length (54.4±0.4) or hip height (73.1±0.4 cm). These results suggest that dietary protein restriction in late gestation does not have any immediate negative effects on in utero calf development.

Y, Moonsan, C Thomas, RH Bryant, and GR Edwards

New Zealand Journal of Animal Science and Production, Volume 78, Lincoln, 186-188, 2018
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