Wednesday, April 15, 2015

As Straw Intakes Goes up, Gains Go Down
Among 8 Week-Old Hiefers

In a research trial (Hill, T. M. and Others, "Roughage amount, source, and processing for diets fed to weaned dairy calves." The Professional Animal Scientist 26:181-187 2010) that ran for 56 days weaned Holstein calves from a single dairy were fed a 21% c.p. textured grower feed and 0, 3, 6, or 9% chopped wheat straw blended in by hand at the time of feeding. 

The average daily gains 8 to 16 week-old heifers over the 56-day trial by straw feeding rate were:

Chopped straw %            Ave.Daily Gain
                                     (Pounds) (Kilograms)
     0                                  2.8         1.27
     3                                  2.4         1.10
     6                                  2.1         0.96
     9                                  2.0         0.89

Other growth measures were Hip Width, Body Score; they also declined as straw intake increased.

In contrast, when grass and alfalfa hay were fed at low levels (3%) average daily gains increased. 

As feeding rates of these forages continued to increase beyond 3 percent, however, rates of gain tapered off.          

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