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.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 78, Lincoln, 186-188, 2018
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