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Utilization of macrominerals and trace elements in pregnant heifers with distinct feed efficiencies

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 15:20 authored by R.S. Dias, Y.R. Montanholi, S. Lopez, Stephen Miller, J. France, B. Smith
The objective of the study was to evaluate utilization of dietary minerals and trace elements in pregnant heifers with distinct residual feed intakes (RFI). Feed intake, body weight (BW), and body composition traits were recorded in 36 crossbred heifers over a period of 37 wk, starting shortly after weaning at 8.3 (0.10; standard deviation) mo of age with an average BW of 276 (7.8) kg. Both BW and body composition were monitored regularly throughout the study, whereas individual feed intake was assessed during the last 84 d of the trial. Data recorded were used to calculate RFI for each heifer. Heifers were ranked based on RFI and assigned to high (n = 14) or low (n = 10) RFI groups. After the RFI study, 24 selected heifers [age 18.2 (0.14) mo; 87.5 (4.74) d in gestation; 497 (8.5) kg of BW] were used in an indirect digestibility trial (lignin as internal marker). Heifers were fed a ration containing corn silage, haylage, and a mineral premix in which Ca, P, K, Na, Mg, S, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Se, Zn, and Co were provided in the diet according to National Research Council requirements of pregnant replacement heifers. The digestibility trial lasted 1 wk, during which samples of feces were gathered twice daily, and blood and liver biopsy samples were collected on the last day. We noted no significant differences between low- and high-RFI heifers in dry matter digestibility. Apparent absorption of Cu, Zn, and Mn was increased in heifers with low RFI, and apparent absorption of Co tended to be greater for these animals. Concentrations of macrominerals and trace elements in serum of pregnant heifers were similar for both groups except for Se, which was increased in the serum of low-RFI heifers. Liver concentrations of Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Se, and Zn did not differ between low- and high-RFI heifers. In conclusion, whereas improved absorption of some trace elements (Cu, Zn, Mn, and Co) and increased Se serum concentration appear to be associated with superior feed efficiency in pregnant heifers, further studies are needed to investigate the causality of such relationships


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© American Dairy Science Association®, 2016.


  • English

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Journal title

Journal of Dairy Science




Dias, R. S., Montanholi, Y. R., Lopez, S., Smith, B., Miller, S. P., & France, J. (2016). Utilization of macrominerals and trace elements in pregnant heifers with distinct feed efficiencies. Journal of Dairy Science, 99(7), 5413-5421. doi: 10.3168/jds.2015-10796

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