Influence of Grain Processing and Dietary Protein Degradability on Nitrogen Metabolism, Energy Balance and Methane Production in Young Calves

  • Pattanaik, A.K. (Centre of Advanced Studies in Animal Nutrition, Indian Veterinary Research Institute) ;
  • Sastry, V.R.B. (Centre of Advanced Studies in Animal Nutrition, Indian Veterinary Research Institute) ;
  • Katiyar, R.C. (Centre of Advanced Studies in Animal Nutrition, Indian Veterinary Research Institute) ;
  • Lal, Murari (Centre of Advanced Studies in Animal Nutrition, Indian Veterinary Research Institute)
  • Received : 2002.03.28
  • Accepted : 2003.05.09
  • Published : 2003.10.01


Crossbred (Bos taurus${\times}$Bos indicus) calves were used from birth till 14 weeks of age to evaluate three sources of protein that differed in ruminal degradability viz. groundnut cake alone (HD) or in combination with cottonseed meal (MD) and meat and bone meal (LD), when fed along with two sources of non-structural carbohydrates viz. raw (R) and thermally processed (P) maize. Twenty four new born calves were arranged in six groups in a $3{\times}2$ factorial design and fed on whole milk up to 56 d of age. All the different calves received calf startes along with green oats (Avena sativa) from 14 d of age onwards free-choice. A metabolism trial of 6d starters duration, conducted after 90 d of experimental feeding, revealed greater (p<0.05) digestibility of DM, OM, total carbohydrates, NDF and ADF in calves fed on the P diets than on the R diets promoting greater (p<0.05) metabolizable energy intake. The digestibility of NDF was higher (p<0.01) on LD diets where as calves on MD diets exhibited significantly lower digestibility of ADF (p<0.01). The retention of nitrogen per unit metabolic body size was significantly (p<0.05) higher on the LD-P diet than on the diet HD-P which, in turn, was higher (p<0.05) than that of HD-R. Nitrogen retention as percentage of intake was significantly greater (p<0.05) on LD-P than on LD-R diets (52.2 vs. 36.4%). Also, P fed calves utilized nitrogen more efficiently than the R fed as shown by retention of significantly greater proportions of intake (47.4 vs. 40.9%) and absorbed (65.8 vs. 59.5%) nitrogen. Calorimetric evaluation of the diets through open-circuit respiration chamber revealed that the dietary treatments had no impact on methane production by calves. The intake of DE and ME was improved (p<0.01) because of maize processing resulting in greater (p<0.01) retention of energy. The protein degradability exerted no influence on the partitioning or retention of energy. A significant interaction between cereal and protein types was evident with respect to retention of both nitrogen (p<0.01) and energy (p<0.05). In conclusion, no discernible trend in the influence of cereal processing was apparent on the dietary protein degradability, but the positive effect of cereal processing on energy retention diminished with the increase in dietary undegradability.


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