The effect of rumen inert fat supplementation and protein degradability in starter and finishing diets on veal calf performance
The original publication is available at http://www.sasas.co.za/
Thirty six Holstein bull calves were divided into six groups to determine the effect of protein degradability and rumen inert fat supplementation in starter and finishing diets on nutrient digestibility and veal production. Calves received low (LD) or high (HD) degradable protein diets, with or without rumen inert fat supplementation. Two commercial fat sources were used, Morlac (mlc) and Golden Flake (gf), included in the experimental diets at 2.5% of dry matter (DM). A commercial milk replacer was fed to all calves at 4 L/day for 42 days, followed by 2 L/day until weaning at 49 days of age. Starter diets were offered ad lib. from day 14 to 10 weeks of age and finishing diets ad lib. from 11 to 20 weeks of age. All calves were slaughtered at 20 weeks to determine carcass weight and dressing percentage. There were no significant differences in body weight gain or dry matter intake over the entire 20 week period. Feed conversion ratio (FCR) was improved when fat was supplemented to LD, but not to HD diets. The FCR (DM intake/kg gain) of LD, HD, LDmlc, HDmlc, LDgf and HDgf diets was 3.45, 3.44, 3.07, 3.81, 3.02 and 3.43, respectively. All 36 calves were used in a digestibility trial during week 18 of the study, using chromium oxide as a marker. Apparent digestibility values (%) for LD, HD, LDmlc, HDmlc, LDgf and HDgf, respectively, were 61.7, 65.9, 75.4, 69.0, 75.5 and 67.2 for DM, 61.4, 61.6, 71.3, 68.2, 75.4 and 66.1 for crude protein and 58.6, 66.5, 76.0, 70.9, 78.4 and 70.8 for fat. Dry matter and fat digestibilities were significantly higher when fat was added to LD diets, but not to HD diets. The CP digestibility was significantly higher when fat was added to either the LD or the HD diets. It was concluded that rumen inert fat supplementation to calf diets appears to improve feed conversion ratio and DM and fat digestibilities, but only when added to low degradable protein diets and only after 10 weeks of age. Crude protein digestibility appears to improve with fat supplementation to either high or low degradable protein diets.