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Conference Papers Year : 2023

Morphology and body composition of beef-on-dairy heifers along compensatory growth itinerary

Abstract

The aim was to evaluate if finishing heifers fed a grass-based diet during a compensatory growth period (CG) would recover the effects of a previous restrictive feeding (RF). Sixty-six crossbred heifers (♀ Swiss Brown × ♂ Angus, Limousin or Simmental) were used from 271 to 527 kg BW. Thirty-three grew discontinuously (DI), 111 d on mountain pasture, followed by 80 d CG at barn (65:20:8:7 grass silage/hay/maize silage and concentrates, DM basis). The remaining 33 were fed continuously (CO) the barn-diet during 191 d. Body morphological measurements were performed on 12 heifers per treatment by full body 3D imaging, dorsal and rump ultrasounds, and trained operator grading (CHTAX), at the beginning and the end of RF, at the end of CG and before slaughter. At the same dates (except end of CG), direct post mortem measurements of empty body (EB) chemical composition were performed on 6 additional heifers per treatment and date. The RF induced lower average daily gain (ADG, 0.45 vs 1.06 kg/d), leading to a weight difference of 84.4 kg at the start of CG (P<0.001), lower fat cover score (1.34 vs 3.27) and skin and adipose tissue thickness (P<0.05) for DI vs CO heifers. Accordingly, lipid content in EB (9.0 vs 17.3%) was lower and protein content higher at the end of RF (P<0.001). Morphologically, the DI heifers were significantly lower in body length, area, and volume, but not in height. Over 80 days of CG, the DI heifers ingested more (8.7 vs 7.8 kg DM/d), had a higher ADG (1.46 vs 1.02 kg/d) and valorised the ration more efficiently (0.17 vs 0.13 kg ADG/kg DMI; P<0.01) than CO heifers, achieving a BW compensation index of 43%. Increase in body height was however strongly slowed down during CG, thus prioritizing width gain. At slaughter after 160 d of refeeding, full compensation of the gap due to RF between DI and CO heifers was observed, in carcass grading, morphological measurements, as well as for EB lipid and protein contents (P>0.10). This trial highlights wide adaptive processes in body morphological and composition traits when growing cattle had to cope with nutritive challenges along CG itinerary.
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Dates and versions

hal-04286350 , version 1 (15-11-2023)

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : hal-04286350 , version 1

Cite

Isabelle Morel, A. Dieudonné, R. Siegenthaler, Caroline Xavier, Sylvain Lerch. Morphology and body composition of beef-on-dairy heifers along compensatory growth itinerary. 74. Annual meeting of the european federation of animal science (EAAP), EAAP, Aug 2023, Lyon, France. pp.679. ⟨hal-04286350⟩

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