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Nutrition Programs for Growing Heifers. José Eduardo P. Santos VMTRC. Goals of a Nutrition Program for Growing Heifers. 1. Achieve puberty and sexual maturity early 2. Achieve adequate body weight, height, and frame size at calving

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Nutrition Programs for Growing Heifers

José Eduardo P. Santos

VMTRC


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Goals of a Nutrition Program for Growing Heifers

1. Achieve puberty and sexual maturity early

2. Achieve adequate body weight, height, and frame size at calving

3. Decrease age at first calving with adequate body size, without compromising mammary development and lactation performance

4. Economically sound


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Feeding Program for Growing Heifers

  • Divided into:

    • Preweaning feeding program

    • Prepubertal feeding program

    • Postpubertal feeding program


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The Dairy Production Cycle

Calf

Hutch/Calf pen

Maternity Pen

Weaning

Close-up dry cows

Group Pens

Far-off dry cows

Breeding Age Heifer

Low Group

Bred heifer

Springing Heifer

Medium Group

Fresh

High Group


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Target Growth for Holstein Heifers

  • Prepubertal period: 3 to 9 months

    • BW gain: 1.6 to 1.8 lbs/d

    • Wither height: 1.4”/month

  • Breeding period: 13 months

    • BW: 780 lbs

    • 49 to 50” wither height

    • BCS: 3.0 - 3.5


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Postpubertal Period

  • 10 months to calving

    • BW gain: 1.8 to 2.0 lbs/d

    • Wither height: 0.5 to 0.6”/month

  • Prepartum (22 - 24 months):

    • BW: 1350 to 1400 lbs pre-calving or 1200 lbs after calving

    • Height: 54-56” at the withers

    • BCS < 4.0 at calving (3.25 - 3.75)



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Lactation Performance

  • Intrinsic factors that affect milk production during first lactation:

    • Number of milk secreting mammary cells(Tucker, 1981)

      • Genetics

      • Mammary development during the allometric phase (Sejrsen and Purup, 1997)

    • Ability of the animal to compete for feed and to deliver nutrients to the mammary gland

      • Body size


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Mammary Gland Development

  • Four Phases:

    • Fetal life:

      • Basic structure: stroma, circulatory system, and few ducts

    • Isometric: first 60 to 90 days of life

      • Gland grows at the same rate of the body: stroma and blood vessels

    • Allometric: 3 to 9 months (puberty)

      • Gland grows at a faster rate than the rest of the body: fat pad and ducts (Sinha and Tucker, 1969)

      • Determines the number of milk-secreting cells that will be present during lactation

    • Isometric: After puberty


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Two Schools

  • European (Danish):Kris Sejrsen and colleagues

    • Accelerated growth rates during the allometric phase is detrimental to mammary development and milk yield potential

  • American: M. VanAmburgh, M. VandeHaar and others

    • Negative effects of accelerated growth rates during the prepubertal period can be overcome by diet formulation


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Danish Data

  • Growth rates above 1.6 lbs/d during the prepubertal period:

    • Reduce parenchymal DNA in the mammary gland

    • Decrease milk production during first lactation (10 to 20% lower)

      • Mechanism: not clear, but seems to be associated with reduced sensitivity of mammary cells to IGF-I



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Effect of ADG During Puberty on Mammary Gland Secretory Tissue

Ratio CP/ME < 55 g CP/Mcal ME



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Effect of Prepubertal ADG on Performance During First Lactation (Van Amburgh et al., 1998)

a

a,bP < 0.05

ab

b

a

ab

b

CP:ME = 62.3, 66.7, 63.5 g/Mcal


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Recommendations Lactation

  • Formulate diets to achieve and ADG of 1.7 to 1.8 lbs/d

  • Adjust CP content of the diet

  • Ratio CP to ME: 64 g/Mcal

  • Hoffman (1998) suggested that protein quality may be an issue. However, response to RUP sources is not consistent in growing heifers

    • Maximize microbial protein


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Data from Cornell University Lactation (Elrod and Butler, 1993)

  • Excess degradable protein in diets of breeding heifers might decrease conception rates

    • CP : 21%

    • RDP = 82.5% of CP

    • CR dropped from 82 to 60%


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Effect of Ionophores on Rumen Bacteria (Gram +) Lactation

  • Extracellular Intracellular

  • ATP

  • H+ H+ ADP

  • H+ H+

  • K+ K+

  • Na+ Na+

  • H+ H+

M

M


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Rumen Fermentation Lactation

Propionate

Microbial

Protein + NH3

CO2 +

CH4 +

H2

CHO

Protein

Pyruvate

Acetate +

Butyrate

Glucose


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Use of Ionophores in Diets for Growing Heifers Lactation

  • Control coccidiosis

  • Ionophore-resistant bacteria (Gram - ) produce more propionate and less acetate

    • Increase efficiency of energy utilization

  • Reduce DMI

  • May or may not increase ADG

  • Increase feed efficiency

  • May reduce age at puberty


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Influence of Ionophores on Performance of Growing Cattle Lactation (167 trials with 11,414 animals)

Lanna (1997)


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Guidelines for Feeding Growing Heifers Lactation

  • Adjust energy content of diets to promote an ADG of 1.7 to 1.8 lbs/d

  • ME content of the diet 1.0 to 1.2 Mcal/lb of DM

  • NEg: 0.40 to 0.45 Mcal/lb of DM

  • Energy requirements for breeding heifers:

    • Maintenance: 780 lbs = 14 Mcal/d

    • 1 lb of gain is equivalent to 4.3 Mcal of ME


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Guidelines for Feeding Growing Heifers Lactation

  • Limit CP to no more than 16 or 17% for heifers with BW greater than 300 lbs

  • Maintain a CP:MP ratio of 64 g of CP for every Mcal of ME

  • Add Ionophores to the diet:

    • Monensin: 200 to 300 mg/hd/d or 20 to 30 ppm

    • Lasalocid: 200 to 300 mg/hd/d or 20 to 30 ppm


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Prepartum Heifers Lactation

  • Feed a high energy low NDF diet

    • NEL: 0.72 to 0.75 Mcal/lb

    • NDF: 32 to 35%

    • NFC: 38 to 42%

  • Use high quality forages (Corn silage)

  • Avoid ingredients with high fat content

    • dietary fat < 3.5%


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Prepartum Heifers Lactation

  • Keep CP at 14 to 15% during the last 3 to 4 weeks prepartum

  • Close-up heifer group should be consuming 22 to 25 lb of DM/hd/d (1.6`- 1.7% of BW)

  • Feed a low Na and K diet to minimize udder edema


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Cost of Feeding Replacements Lactation

  • California (1999 - 2000)

    • 4 to 12 months:

      • $ 100.00 to 120.00/ton DM

    • 13 to 23 months:

      • $ 80.00 to $ 95.00/ton DM


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