Determination of macromineral requirements for preweaned dairy calves in tropical conditions.


Department of Animal Science, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, 36570-000 Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]


International committees that have published nutrient requirements for dairy cattle have used data from mineral studies conducted in the 1920s to 1970s, and no study has reported data from animals less than 100 kg; therefore, there is a need to update mineral requirements for preweaned dairy calves. Thus, a meta-analysis was performed to estimate the mineral requirements of Ca, P, K, Mg, and Na for Holstein and Holstein × Gyr crossbred preweaned dairy calves using data from 5 studies developed at the Universidade Federal de Viçosa (Viçosa, MG, Brazil). A total of 210 calves were separated into 2 breeds: purebred Holstein calves (animals with a Holstein pedigree higher than 87.5%) and Holstein × Gyr crossbred calves (animals with a Holstein pedigree lower than 87.5%). The comparative slaughter technique was used to estimate animal body composition and empty body weight (EBW). Mineral requirements for maintenance were estimated by the regression between retained mineral and mineral intake, whereas mineral requirements for gain were obtained from the first derivative of the mineral content in the animal's body. In addition, breed effect was tested on the intercept and slope of the models. The effect of breed was not observed for all analyzed variables. Thus, net requirements for maintenance were 12.73, 11.81, 20.28, 3.50, and 6.37 mg/kg of EBW per day for Ca, P, K, Mg, and Na, respectively. Retention coefficients were 73.18, 65.20, 13.16, 29.55, and 24.28% for Ca, P, K, Mg, and Na, respectively. The following equations were determined to estimate net requirements for gain (NRG, g/d): NRG for Ca = 14.402 × EBW-0.139 × empty body gain (EBG); NRG for P = 5.849 × EBW-0.027 × EBG; NRG for K = 1.140 × EBW-0.048 × EBG; NRG for Mg = 0.603 × EBW-0.036 × EBG; and NRG for Na = 1.508 × EBW-0.045 × EBG. Due to the high variation between the data found in this study and in the available literature, we suggest that further studies should be conducted to evaluate the estimates of this study.


growth,maintenance,mineral,retention coefficient,

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