This study was carried out to examine liveweight gain (LWG), urinary nitrogen (N) concentration, and urinary N excretion of dairy heifers grazing perennial ryegrass-white clover pasture, dual-purpose wheat and dual-purpose canola. A temporal replicate design with two replicates was used to conduct the study. A total of 24–30 Friesian · Jersey heifers, aged 9–11 months were allocated into three dietary treatment groups (pasture, canola, and wheat) according to their initial LW (184 AE 7.0 kg; mean AE s.d.) and breeding worth (NZ$142 AE 11.3; mean AE s.d.). Feed was allocated every 4 days with allowance calculated according to feed requirement for maintenance plus 0.8 kg LWG/day. The LWG over the 26–28-day experimental period was higher (P < 0.001) for heifers grazing wheat (0.66 kg/day) and canola (0.53 kg/day) than pasture (0.35 kg/day). After the experimental period, heifers were grazed together in one herd on pasture. The LWG over the 28–44-day carryover period was higher (P < 0.001) in canola (0.86 kg/day) than wheat (0.57 kg/day) and pasture (0.61 kg/day). The concentration of urinary N was lower (P = 0.017) in canola (0.21%) and wheat (0.24%) than pasture (0.35%). Estimated urinary N excretion was lower (P < 0.001) in canola (52.5 g/day) and wheat (59.1 g/day) than pasture (98.9 g/day). Data suggest that grazing canola and wheat compared with pasture may improve heifer LWG and potentially reduce N losses to the environment by reducing the N loading of urine patches.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Animal Production Science|
|Early online date||Jan 2016|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|