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Animal Breeding and Genetics
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2004;17(6): 794-798.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2004.794    Published online January 1, 2004.
Effect of Stepped Pattern of Feed Intake Using Rice Straw as Roughage Source on Regulation of Growth, Reproduction and Lactation in Dairy Heifers
M. G. Jin, H. G. Lee, H. J. Lee, Z. S. Hong, J. H. Wang, Y. H. Yin, R. H. Jin, K. K. Cho, Y. J. Choi
An attempt was made to improve the efficiency of growth and lactation performance of dairy heifers subjected to a stair-step growth scheme using rice straw as the sole roughage source. Twenty-four young Holstein heifers were randomly assigned to either control or test group. The control diet met the National Research Council (NRC) requirement, with heifers calving at 24 to 26 mo of age. The test group was individually fed according to a schedule of 3, 2, 4, 2, 5 and 2 mo in which feed intake was alternately 20% below or 25% above the NRC requirements. Heifers on the stair-step growth pattern gained more body weight and consumed less dry matter (10.80 and 11.22%, respectively), resulting an increasing growth efficiency compared with the control. Body condition, first estrus, first conception, services per conception and calving difficulty (data not shown) were not affected. Milk yield of the test group was 8.5% higher than that of the control group. During the early lactation period, the milk yield was significantly higher in the stair-step group than in that of the control group (p<0.05). Milk composition was not affected by compensatory growth induced by the stair-step scheme. Also, weight at calving and calf growth performance was not affected by stair-step growth. The results indicate that using rice straw as a sole roughage source in a stair-step compensatory growth scheme can contribute to the improvement of growth efficiency and early lactation performance.
Keywords: Compensatory Growth; Milk Yield; Rice Straw; Dairy Heifers

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