Effect of dietary nitrogen source and crude protein content on nitrogen balance and lactating performance of dairy cows
Keywords:Blood metabolism, Milk yield and composition, Sources of protein, Digestibility, Nitrogen efficiency
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of two crude protein contents (CP) and two main nitrogen sources in the diet of dairy cows, using sugarcane as forage, on intake, total apparent digestibility, milk yield and composition, and nitrogen balance. Twelve Holstein cows in late lactation were assigned in three contemporary square, in a Latin Square design 4 × 4, with 2 × 2 factorial treatment arrangement, in 21-day trial by period, 14 for diet adaptation and the last seven for sampling and analysis. Cows were housed in individual stalls and fed a total mixed ration (TMR) "ad libitum" composed of two main nitrogen sources (cottonseed meal or whole raw soybean grain) and two levels of CP (130g or 148g/kg dry matter - DM) in the diet. In the present study, there was an interaction effect between nitrogen source and crude protein on DM intake (DMI). Cows fed whole raw soybean had higher DMI when the CP content of the diet was 130 g CP/kg DM, while cows fed cottonseed meal had higher DMI when the CP content of the diet was 148 g CP/kg DM. A similar result of DMI was observed for organic matter intake, whereas there was no interaction effect between dietary nitrogen source and crude protein content on intake of other nutrients. Total apparent digestibility of NDF and TDN was higher when soybean was used as the main diet nitrogen source; whereas the digestibility of dietary CP was not changed by the nitrogen sources. Although there were changes in the DMI and the apparent digestibility coefficient, in the current study, there was no effect of dietary crude protein content and nitrogen source on milk yield. In conclusion, the use of low dietetic concentrations of crude protein (130 g/Kg of DM) does not change the lactating performance of dairy cows and may reduce diet cost, while the choice between whole raw soybean grain or cottonseed meal as a protein ingredient may depends only on the availability and/or price, as both ingredients result in similar performance.
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