Alfalfa protein concentrate in milk replacer formulas for dairy calves Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/qr46r420k

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  • To reduce the loss of feeding calves during the nursing period and to conserve milk for human consumption research has been conducted to develop milk replacer formulas which result in calf performance comparable to that of milk. In the first section of this investigation different aspects of utilization of fats, carbohydrates and protein by the calf are discussed. The review of literature showed that the calf can adequately utilize a number of different fats as alternatives to butterfat. As regarding carbohydrates the only ones that are satisfactory for young calves are lactose and glucose. The young calf shows poor ability to digest starch and sucrose- The protein used in milk replacers is generally provided by skim milk and various sources of protein have been tried to substitute for it. The review indicated that results were widely different due to the source of protein, rate of substitution, age of the calf and physical and chemical effects on the product. However, provided any toxic factors are extracted from the protein source and amino acid deficiencies rectified, many proteins can substitute for skim milk at levels between 25-50%. Even 70% substitution is possible with satisfactory performance of the calf. In the second section an investigation was undertaken to evaluate alfalfa protein concentrate (APC) as a partial substitute for milk protein in milk replacers for calves. Alfalfa has a high potential as a protein source and methods have been developed to extract the protein from other less nutritious leaf constituents for use by monogastric animals as well as pre-ruminant calves. Three milk replacers were formulated. The control had all the protein from milk. The other two contained 30 and 60% of the total crude protein from APC. These were fed to three groups of 5 calves each for six weeks and the growth rate, feed efficiency and health of the calves were assessed. The results showed that the growth rates for the calves on the three replacers were not significantly different. The growth rate of the three groups was poor during the first three weeks and incidence of diarrhea was high during the same period. Failure of coagulation as a reason for this was discussed. Feeding efficiency was not significantly different. The calves in the three trials were healthy and APC was well accepted by the calves. With increasing levels of APC substitution the cost of feed per weight gain was markedly reduced. Conclusions were that APC can substitute for a major part of the skim milk after the third week. For automated feeding systems more research should be done with APC to improve its solubility characteristics.
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