Relationships of Retained Energy and Retained Protein that Influence the Determination of Cattle Requirements of Energy and Protein using the California Net Energy System Academic Article uri icon


  • Interrelationships between retained energy (RE) and retained protein (RP) that are essential in determining the efficiency of use of feeds and the assessment of energy and protein requirements of growing cattle were analyzed. Two concerns were identified. The first concern was the conundrum of a satisfactory correlation between observed and predicted RE (r = 0.93) or between observed and predicted RP when using predicted RE to estimate RP (r = 0.939), but a much lower correlation between observed and predicted RP when using observed RE to estimate RP (r = 0.679). The higher correlation when using predicted vs. observed RE is a concern because it indicates an interdependency between predicted RP and predicted RE that is needed to predict RP with a higher precision. These internal offsetting errors create an apparent overall adequacy of nutrition modeling that is elusive, thus potentially destabilizing the predictability of nutrition models when submodels are changed independently. In part, the unsatisfactory prediction of RP from observed RE might be related to the fact that body fat has a caloric value that is 1.65 times greater than body protein and the body deposition of fat increases exponentially as an animal matures, whereas body deposition of protein tends to plateau. Thus, body fat is more influential than body protein in determining RE, and inaccuracies in measuring body protein will be reflected in the RP comparison but suppressed in the RE calculation. The second concern is related to the disconnection when predicting partial efficiency of use of metabolizable energy for growth (kG) using the proportion of RE deposited as protein-carcass approach-vs. using the concentration of metabolizable energy of the diet-diet approach. The culprit of this disconnection might be related to how energy losses that are associated with supporting energy-expending processes (HiEv) are allocated between these approaches. When computing kG, the diet approach likely assigns the HiEv to the RE pool, whereas the carcass approach ignores the HiEV, assigning it to the overall heat production that is used to support the tissue metabolism. Opportunities exist for improving the California Net Energy System regarding the relationships of RE and RP in computing the requirements for energy and protein by growing cattle, but procedural changes might be needed such as increased accuracy in the determination of body composition and better partitioning of energy.

author list (cited authors)

  • Tedeschi, L. O.

citation count

  • 5

publication date

  • November 2018