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Effects of dietary crude protein on protein and fat deposition in milk-fed veal calves

Abstract : Research on veal calf production has focused on maximizing lean tissue growth. Nevertheless, limited attention has been paid to the evolution of digestive and metabolic utilization of N and energy as calves get older, whereas age at slaughter increases. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of 4 concentrations of dietary crude protein (CP) content on protein and fat deposition and energy utilization in milk-fed calves at 3 stages of fattening using the balance technique combined with heat production measurements in a respiration chamber. At each stage, 16 Prim'Holstein male calves ( mean body weight at each stage: 72, 136, and 212 kg) received 4 isocaloric diets with CP contents of 76, 88, 100, and 112% of a reference CP content fixed at 20% during the first stage and 19% during the 2 later stages. After 2 wk of adaptation to their respective diets and housing conditions, the calves were placed for 1 wk in an open-circuit respiration chamber for N and energy balance measurements ( first 6 d) and measurement of the fasting heat production ( last day). Measurements for a stage were performed over 2 periods of 4 successive weeks. There was no effect of dietary CP on digestibility during the 2 later stages, but the low-protein diet resulted in lower digestibility coefficients for dry matter, organic matter, gross energy, CP, and crude fat during the first stage. Endogenous fecal N was estimated as 2.5 g/kg of dry matter intake irrespective of stage, and metabolic urinary N was estimated at 0.07 g/kg of body weight(0.85) per day. Maximum N retention was 32.8, 40.5, and 44.0 g/d at stages 1, 2, and 3, respectively. The effect of protein intake on protein deposition was dependent on age of the calves, because the marginal efficiency of digestible protein utilization decreased from 64 to 18% as animals got older. Fat deposition decreased with increasing dietary CP content irrespective of stage. Total energy retention was not modified by dietary CP content. The composition of body weight gain was affected differently for each stage, because the protein content of body weight gain increased with increasing dietary CP content during the first stage, whereas it remained constant during the other 2 stages. Fat and energy content in body weight gain decreased with increasing dietary CP irrespective of stage. These results provide a basis for estimating protein requirement of veal calves according to a factorial approach.
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Etienne Labussière, Serge Dubois, Jaap van Milgen, Gérard Bertrand, Jean Noblet. Effects of dietary crude protein on protein and fat deposition in milk-fed veal calves. Journal of Dairy Science, American Dairy Science Association, 2008, 91 (12), pp.4741-4754. ⟨10.3168/jds.2008-1203⟩. ⟨hal-02667087⟩



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