Energy and protein interactions and their effect on nitrogen excretion in dairy cows
Kebreab, E., Strathe, A. B., Dijkstra, J., Mills, J. A. N., Reynolds, C. K., Crompton, L. A., Yan, T. and France, J. (2010) Energy and protein interactions and their effect on nitrogen excretion in dairy cows. In: Crovetto, E. M. (ed.) Proceedings of the 3rd international symposium on energy and protein metabolism and nutrition. Wageningen Academic Publishers, The Netherlands, pp. 417-425. ISBN 9789086861538
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The principal driver of nitrogen (N) losses from the body including excretion and secretion in milk is N intake. However, other covariates may also play a role in modifying the partitioning of N. This study tests the hypothesis that N partitioning in dairy cows is affected by energy and protein interactions. A database containing 470 dairy cow observations was collated from calorimetry experiments. The data include N and energy parameters of the diet and N utilization by the animal. Univariate and multivariate meta-analyses that considered both within and between study effects were conducted to generate prediction equations based on N intake alone or with an energy component. The univariate models showed that there was a strong positive linear relationships between N intake and N excretion in faeces, urine and milk. The slopes were 0.28 faeces N, 0.38 urine N and 0.20 milk N. Multivariate model analysis did not improve the fit. Metabolizable energy intake had a significant positive effect on the amount of milk N in proportion to faeces and urine N, which is also supported by other studies. Another measure of energy considered as a covariate to N intake was diet quality or metabolizability (the concentration of metabolizable energy relative to gross energy of the diet). Diet quality also had a positive linear relationship with the proportion of milk N relative to N excreted in faeces and urine. Metabolizability had the largest effect on faeces N due to lower protein digestibility of low quality diets. Urine N was also affected by diet quality and the magnitude of the effect was higher than for milk N. This research shows that including a measure of diet quality as a covariate with N intake in a model of N execration can enhance our understanding of the effects of diet composition on N losses from dairy cows. The new prediction equations developed in this study could be used to monitor N losses from dairy systems.