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Short communication: Effect of replacing corn with beet pulp in a high concentrate diet fed to weaned Holstein calves on diet digestibility and growth

Dennis, T.S., Suarez-Mena, F.X., Hill, T.M., Quigley, J.D., Schlotterbeck, R.L., Lascano, G.J.
Journal of dairy science 2018 v.101 no.1 pp. 408-412
Holstein, acid detergent fiber, adults, average daily gain, beet pulp, body condition, body weight, cattle feeds, corn, cost effectiveness, crude protein, dairy calves, diet, digestibility, digestion, dry matter intake, feces, floors, grass hay, growth performance, hips, ingredients, males, neutral detergent fiber, organic matter, pectins, small cereal grains, soluble fiber, starch, urine
Using soluble fiber sources in starter and grower feeds for dairy calves less than 4 mo of age is common to reduce costs compared with including traditional cereal grains. Beet pulp (BP) contains relatively high concentrations of pectin compared with other fibrous feed ingredients and has been shown to be an acceptable replacement for corn in adult cow diets. However, limited information is available on BP digestibility and growth performance for young calves fed diets with BP. In this study, 48 male Holstein calves (59 ± 2 d of age, 77 ± 2.2 kg of initial body weight) were fed 95% concentrate, 5% chopped grass hay diets in groups with 4 calves/pen for 56 d. Pens were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 dietary treatments containing 0, 15, or 30% BP on an as-fed basis. Body weights, hip widths, and body condition scores were assessed at 56 (start of trial), 84, and 112 d of age. Dry matter intakes and refusals were recorded daily by pen. Digestion coefficients (dC) of the diets and microbial protein flows were estimated when calves were approximately 84 d of age. Fecal samples were collected daily from pen floors over a 7-d period, and urine samples were collected from 2 calves/pen over a 2-d period and analyzed for purine derivatives. Calf average daily gain and hip width change decreased linearly (from 1.09 to 1.04 kg/d and 5.4 to 4.8 cm over 56 d, respectively) with increasing BP. Dry matter, organic matter (from 79.7 to 75.6%), crude protein (75.7 to 70.1%), and starch (97.1 to 93.1%) dC decreased with increasing inclusion rates of BP. Conversely, neutral detergent fiber (from 47.1 to 52.7%) and acid detergent fiber (44.1 to 53.0%) dC increased with increasing BP. Estimates of urine output and microbial protein flow using purine derivatives did not differ among treatments. Under the conditions of this study, BP reduced growth largely by reducing diet digestibility in dairy calves from 56 to 112 d of age.