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Effects of starch and fat concentrations in starter grain on Jersey calf performance.

E. Sgambati


Effects of starch and fat concentrations in starter grain on Jersey calf performance.
E. Sgambati*, M. Eastridge. The Ohio State University Columbus, OH.

The development of replacement heifers is important for maintaining herd size and financial efficiency of dairy farms. We investigated the nutritional needs of Jersey calves, focusing on meeting energy requirements by altering starch and fat concentrations in calf starters. Thirty-six female Jersey calves were grouped by BW and birth date and randomly assigned among 3 calf starters: 35% starch and 2% fat (HST), 20% starch and 2% fat (LST), and 35% starch and 4% fat (HST-F). The fat supplement for HST-F consisted of 20% coconut oil, 45% lard, 15% flaxseed oil, and 20% soybean oil. All of the ingredients were pelleted except the steam-flaked corn and molasses. Calves were fed 4 L of colostrum at birth. All calves were fed the same milk replacer at 4.4 L/d during week 1 of age, 5.2 L/d during wk 2 to 7, and 2.6 L/d during wk 8 before weaning. Intake as measured daily and wither heights and BW were measured weekly. One week after weaning, fecal and feed samples were collected daily for 3 d with the fecal collections representing 24 h/d. Using acid insoluble ash, apparent digestibility of dry matter (DM), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and crude protein (CP) were determined. Neither starter (730, 693, and 716 g/d, respectively for HST, LST, and HST-F) nor total DM intakes (1259, 1209, and 1245 g/d, respectively) differed among treatments, and there were no treatment by week interactions. Average daily gains from birth through wk 10 of age were similar among groups (0.586, 0.534, and 0.550 kg/d, respectively), thus BW and wither heights were similar across weeks. Digestibilities of DM (73.4, 66.0, and 70.2%, respectively), NDF (41.6, 50.2, and 41.4%, respectively), and CP (67.6, 65.1, and 62.6%, respectively) were similar among treatments. Fecal scoring was evaluated on a 1—6 scale, with 6 indicating hard, dry feces and 1 indicating runny, liquid feces. For the first 4 wk of age, there were no differences among treatments for average fecal scores and days with fecal scores of 1 to 4. Starch and fat concentrations in the starters appeared to not affect calf performance which can provide flexibility in formulation of starters based on ingredient costs.

Keywords: calf, starch, Jersey.