Protein-energy supplementation on productive and nutritional performance of grazing beef heifers

Román Maza Ortega, Deilen Sotelo Moreno, Libardo Maza Angúlo


This study was conducted with the aim of evaluating the effect of protein-energy supplementation on productive performance, intake, digestibility, and microbial protein synthesis in heifers fed tropical forage. Twelve Nellore heifers at 11 months of age, with a mean initial body weight of 248.8 ± 11.40 kg were used. The animals were distributed in a completely randomized design with two treatments and six replicates. The treatments evaluated were: control (without supplementation); and supplementation in the amount of 1.5 kg animal-1 day-1. Forage samples were collected to evaluate the chemical composition and the total availability of dry matter of the pasture consumed by the animals. To evaluate the intake and forage digestibility, a trial was performed using internal and external markers. In this study no effect of supplementation was observed on the intakes of dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), forage DM, or neutral detergent fiber corrected for ash and protein (NDFap; P > 0.10). However, supplementation increased (P < 0.01) the intakes of crude protein (CP), ether extract (EE), and non-fibrous carbohydrates (NFC). Additionally, an upward trend (P=0.076) was observed in the intake of digested OM (DOM) with supplementation. On the other hand, supplementation increased (P < 0.01) the digestibility coefficients of OM, CP, EE, and NFC, although supplementation did not affect the ruminal synthesis of nitrogen compounds (MICN), efficiency of protein microbial synthesis (EMS), relative microbial nitrogen (RMICN) or urine urea nitrogen (UUN) excretion (P > 0.57). Lastly, supplementation increased (P=0.050) the average daily gain of the animals, although no effect (P > 0.10) was observed on their final body weight. These results suggested that protein-energy supplementation improves the productive performance and nutritional characteristics of grazing beef heifers.


Animal nutrition; Cattle; Digestibility; Tropical pasture; Urea nitrogen; Voluntary intake.

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Semina: Ciênc. Agrár.
Londrina - PR
E-ISSN 1679-0359
DOI: 10.5433 / 1679-0359
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