Effect of increased dietary crude protein levels on production performance, nitrogen utilisation, blood metabolites and ruminal fermentation of Holstein bulls

  • Xia, Chuanqi (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Rahman, Muhammad Aziz Ur (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Yang, He (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Shao, Taoqi (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Qiu, Qinghua (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Su, Huawei (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Cao, Binghai (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University)
  • Received : 2018.02.11
  • Accepted : 2018.05.02
  • Published : 2018.10.01


Objective: This study investigated the effect of dietary crude protein (CP) supplementation on nutrient intake, nitrogen (N) utilisation, blood metabolites, ruminal fermentation and growth performance of young Holstein bulls. Methods: Twenty-one young bulls weighing $277{\pm}11.2kg$ were equally divided into three groups and were offered diets formulated with low CP (LCP; 10.21% CP and 4.22% rumen degradable protein [RDP]), medium CP (MCP; 12.35% CP and 5.17% RDP) and high CP (HCP; 14.24% CP and 6.03% RDP). Yellow corn silage was used as a unique forage source and was mixed with concentrate. This mixed feed was given ad libitum to the young bulls included in the study. Results: Results showed that CP intake, blood urea nitrogen, N intake, total N excretion and N balance increased linearly with an increase in dietary CP level (p<0.05). However, no significant difference was observed in nutrient digestibility among the bulls receiving the different diets. Ruminal pH (p<0.05) and ammonia nitrogen ($NH_3-N$) concentration (p<0.01) were significantly higher in the bulls receiving the MCP and HCP diets than in those receiving the LCP diet. The bulls receiving the HCP diet showed significantly higher ruminal bacterial protein level, propionate, acetate and total volatile fatty acid (TVFA) concentrations than bulls receiving the LCP diet (p<0.05). Moreover, dietary CP level exerted a significant positive effect on the final body weight, average daily gain and gain-to-feed ratio of the bulls (p<0.05). Conclusion: High dietary CP level is optimal for achieving maximum growth and high profitability without exerting a negative effect on the physiology of growing Holstein bulls.


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