Influence of amount and frequency of protein supplementation to ruminants consuming low-quality cool-season forages: efficiency of nitrogen utilization in lambs and performance of gestating beef cows. Academic Article uri icon


  • We evaluated the influence of amount and crude protein (CP) supplementation frequency (SF) on nitrogen (N) use by wethers and the performance of late-gestation beef cows. In exp. 1, seven Western whiteface wethers (31.8 1.4 kg) were used in an incomplete 7 4 Latin square to evaluate intake and N use. Wethers received one of the seven treatments in a 2 3 factorial design containing two levels of supplemental soybean meal offered at a rate of 100% (F) or 50% (H; 50% of F) of the estimated CP requirement daily, once every 5, or once every 10 d, plus a non-supplemented control (CON). Low-quality cool-season forage (4.9 % CP; dry matter [DM] basis) was provided daily for ad libitum intake. Experimental periods lasted 30 d. In exp. 2, 84 Angus Hereford cows (560 35 kg) were stratified by age, body condition score (BCS), and expected calving date and allocated to 1 of the 21 feedlot pens (three pens per treatment). Pens were randomly assigned to receive the same treatments as in exp. 1 and cows had free access to low-quality cool-season forage (2.9% CP; DM basis). Cow body weight (BW) and BCS were measured every 14 d until calving and within 24 h after calving. In exp. 1, supplementation did not alter total DM and organic matter (OM) intake (P 0.26), but both parameters linearly decreased as SF decreased (P = 0.02). Supplementation increased DM, OM, and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) digestibility (P 0.02). Additionally, F feeding linearly increased DM, OM, and NDF digestibility as SF decreased (P 0.04). Digestibility of N, N balance, and digested N retained were greater with supplementation (P < 0.01), and N digestibility linearly increased as SF decreased (P = 0.01). Mean plasma urea-N concentration was not only greater (P < 0.01) for supplemented vs. CON wethers but also greater (P = 0.03) for F vs. H. In exp. 2, pre-calving BCS change was greater (P = 0.03) for supplemented cows. A linear effect of SF supplementation rate for pre-calving BCS change was noted (P = 0.05), as F-supplemented cows lost more BCS compared with H as SF decreased. When considering supplementation intervals greater than 5 d, reducing the quantity of supplement provided, compared with daily supplementation, may be a feasible management strategy to maintain acceptable nutrient use and animal performance while reducing supplement and labor costs.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Cappellozza, B. I., Bohnert, D. W., Reis, M. M., Van Emon, M. L., Schauer, C. S., Falck, S. J., & Cooke, R. F.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Cappellozza, Bruno I||Bohnert, David W||Reis, Maria M||Van Emon, Megan L||Schauer, Christopher S||Falck, Stephanie J||Cooke, Reinaldo F

publication date

  • January 2021