Influence of Urea Alone or Combined with Fish Meal and Solubles in Liquid Supplements on Performance of Grazing Cow-Calf Pairs

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© 2000 American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists. Experiments were conducted for 84 d, beginning on July 1, with cow-calf pairs grazing summer grass to determine the effects of feeding molasses containing urea or urea, fish solubles, and fish meal on BW gains, milk production, and blood metabolites. The four treatments based on a 16% CP urea-molasses mixture were no supplement, 97.8% base mixture plus 2.2% urea for cows and calves, 80% base mixture plus 10% fish solubles and 10% fish meal for cows and calves, and the supplement with fish solubles and fish meal as a creep feed for calves. The mixture contained 23% CP as fed. In Exp. 1, 60 crossbred cows with Angus-sired calves were allotted according to sex and birth date to 12, 2-ha pastures. Three pastures each with five cow-calf pairs were assigned to each treatment. In Exp. 2, 48 Hereford X Brahman F1 cows with Angus- or Belgian Blue-sired calves were allotted as in Exp. 1 to 24, 1-ha Alicia bermudagrass pastures. Three pastures with two cow-calf pairs were assigned to each treatment for each sire breed of calf. Cows were machine-milked, and jugular blood samples were collected initially and on d 28 and 56. Cows and calves were weighed, and cows were condition-scored after a 16-shrink at the beginning and end of both experiments. Both supplements were consumed at similar levels (1.75 kg/d) by cow-calf pairs in both experiments. Cows in Exp. 1 and calves in both experiments gained more (P<0.05) BW when cow-calf pairs had access to the supplement containing fish solubles and fish meal. Milk yield was numerically higher on d 28 (P<0.18) and d 56 (P<0.11) when cows received fish solubles and fish meal in the supplement. The decline in milk yield from initial milking tended to be less (P<0.10) on d 28 and was less (P<0.05) on d 56 when cows received this supplement. Plasma ammonia N concentrations were higher (P<0.05) when cows were fed supplement containing only urea, and both supplements increased (P<0.05) plasma urea N when compared with no supplement. Supplements containing molasses, urea, fish solubles, and fish meal appear beneficial for cow-calf pairs grazing summer forage.

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Professional Animal Scientist

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