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The effect of different proportions of dried grass and concentrates in the diet on voluntary intake and performance of calves

  • T. A. McCullough (a1)


Complete diets each containing (1) 0%, (2) 20%, (3) 40%, (4) 60% high-quality, (5) 20% and (6) 40% low-quality dried grass were given ad libitum to 48 British Friesian calves.

The performance of the animals was studied over the stages of growth from 50 to 100 kg and 150 to 200 kg live weight. At each stage of growth the live-weight gain was similar on all treatments while the daily intake of dry matter was significantly affected by the treatments. Over the stage of growth from 50 to 100 kg live weight the intake of metabolizable energy was greatest on treatment 2 and lowest on treatment 4. The conversion ratio of metabolizable energy decreased with increasing levels and with both qualities of dried grass over the weight range 50 to 100 kg.

When the calves reached 100 kg live weight, digestibility and N balance studies were carried out. The metabolizable energy (ME) expressed as a percentage of the gross energy decreased with increasing levels and with the lower quality of dried grass. Nitrogen retention was not significantly affected by treatment differences.

The relationships of the voluntary intake of dry matter, ME intake and the conversion ratio of ME with the ME expressed as a percentage of gross energy over the lower live-weight range are also presented.



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