Livestock Research for Rural Development 33 (1) 2021 LRRD Search LRRD Misssion Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Effects of replacement of Lablab purpureus hay with concentrate mix on growth and reproductive performance of crossbred heifers at Bako Agricultural Research Center

Tesfaye Mediksa and Dereje Bekele

Bako Agricultural Research Center, P O Box 03,West Shoa, Bako, Ethiopia
tesfishmidoo2008@gmail.com

Abstract

The experiment was conducted at Bako agricultural research center with an objective to evaluate the replacement effect of Lablab purpureus hay with concentrate mix on the growth and age at first service of Horro-Friesian crossbred heifers grazed natural pasture. Thirty heifers of similar age and weight were randomly used in RCBD. The heifers were grazed for seven hours per day and supplemented with Lablab purpureus hay LP0, LP25, LP50, LP75 and LP100 to replace concentrate mix. Results of chemical analysis of experimental feeds indicated that Concentrate mix (CP: 21.32%, DOMD: 76.38%) had better nutritive value than Lablab purpureus hay (CP: 16.78% and DOMD: 66.42%). Heifers fed LP0 and LP25 had higher (P=0.001) daily body weight gain (401.39 g) and (379.16 g) respectively than other heifers. Heifers fed LP0 and LP25 came in heat earlier (P=0.034) than other. Weight at first on heat and age at first service were different among the dietary treatments (P=0.001). Therefore, supplementation of Lablab purpureus hay up to 75% reduce three month age at first service and increase daily weight gain.

Keywords: calves, colostrums, milk, natural pasture


Introduction

The development of replacement heifers is one of the most expensive parts of a cow-calf enterprise. The goal of any replacement heifer development program is to grow heifers to a point where the majority of animals are pubertal and cycling at the start of the breeding season. Research has shown that heifers that calve at two years of age have increased lifetime productivity as compared to later calving heifers (Wiltbank et al 1985). The reproductive performance of the breeding female is probably the single most important factor that is a prerequisite for sustainable dairy production system and influencing the productivity. Puberty and sexual maturity are closely related stages of the life, having an immense effect on the production and reproduction performance of dairy animals (Pawan et al 2019). Balanced feeding, improved management and minimum disease prevalence can be helpful in reducing the age at first calving (Heinrichs et al 2005). The first major issue is the lower growth rate of calves during early months of their age and just after weaning. Lower growth rate in the early life of the calves is either due to underfeeding or imbalanced feeding. Genetics does play its role as well. This lower growth rate results in higher age at puberty and thus higher age at first calving in heifers.

In our country mostly it is forage based system, where animals are mainly raised on fodder and poor quality roughages. Concentrates are supplemented with fodder to reduce the age at maturity. Chaudhry et al (1988) Found that age at puberty was reduced by 8 months in heifers fed fodder plus concentrate than those fed fodder only.

Know a day crossbreed cattle are being produced largely under farmer hand, most of the farmers use grazing land for their cattle and this is not support the nutrient requirements of heifers as they soon came back to production and they need some supplementation feed to fulfill this gap. Crossbreed Calves after weaning in small scale and large scale easily susceptible to feed shortage because nobody remember them at that time, this is cause longer age at first calving and makes short life time stay on production. Therefore an important approach to hasten the growth of replacement heifers to enhance their productivity, by bringing them in to production at an earlier age, is balancing their rations to meet their requirements both for protein and energy. Protein and energy are the most critical nutrients for the growing young ruminants and should be provided in adequate quantity and quality to support maintenance and growth. This can be achieved by adjusting the concentrate and roughage ratio of the diet and feeding according to age and body weight of the animals. According to Gojjam et al (2011) nutritional manipulation of crossbred dairy heifers in the post-weaning period accelerated the growth rate and improved reproductive performance of the heifers. The objectives of this study was, to evaluate different proportions of concentrate to Lablab purpureus hay ratio on the growth and age at puberty of Horro-Friesian cross bred heifers.


Material and methods

Study area

The experiment was carried out at Bako Agricultural Research Center, Ethiopia, longitude 37 09’ E, latitude 09 06’ N and an altitude 1650 m above sea level. The center is located 260 km west of the capital city, Addis Ababa.

Animals and management

Thirty weaned crossbred female calves were used in experiment. Similar pre-weaning management was employed for all calves that mean each calf suckled their dams for five days to get colostrums’ after birth. Calves consume total of 227 kg of whole milk for 89 days at different rates ( Table 1.). After weaning, they were fed grass hay free choice and supplemented with 1–2 kg of concentrate for 90 days. At the age of 6 months calves were stratified according to their age and weight and were assigned to one of the following dietary experiments.

Table 1. Daily allowance of colostrums and whole milk from birth to 94 days of weaning

Days on colostrum and whole
milk (birth–94 days of age)

Daily and total colostrums/whole milk allowance /liters

AM

PM

Per day

Total

5 days (colostrums)

suckling

suckling

adlib

adlib

8 days (whole milk)

1.5

1.5

3

24

27 days (whole milk)

2

2

4

108

41 days (whole milk

1

1

2

82

13 days (whole milk)

0.5

0.5

1

13

(94 days) total

227

Experimental Design, Treatments, and Measurements

At the beginning of the experiment, thirty weaned female F1calves cross of (Horro x Fresian) were used in RCBD. During the first 15 days, animals were acclimated to the experimental diet and others remains days are used to collect data. Hence, the experiments go up to age at first service. The experimental calves were randomly allotted to one of the five dietary treatments given below. Grazing was considering as meeting maintenance requirements of the calves while supplemented feed given to the heifers to meet growth requirements of the calves based on their body weight. Nutrient gained from grazing land and supplementation was assumed as to meet body maintenance and growth requirements of the calves as per NRC (2001) recommendation. The amounts of protein from Lablab purpureus hay and concentrate feed were given depending on CP requirements for growth of weaned calves depending on their body weight again.

The treatments were arranged as follow:

LP0: Grazing + Concentrate mix (100%)

LP25: Grazing +Concentrate mix (75%) + Lablab purpureus hay (25%)

LP50: Grazing +Concentrate mix (50%) + Lablab purpureus hay (50%)

LP75: Grazing +Concentrate mix (25%) + Lablab purpureus hay (75%)

LP100: Grazing+Lablabpurpureushay(100%)

Weaned female calves were offered 40% concentrate, Lablab purpureus hay and their proportion of (100: 0, 75: 25, 50: 50, 75: 25 and 0: 100) at the rate of 3% of their body weight. The other 60% were offered from grazing for 7 h on well-managed and protected natural pasture. Feed was adjusted every fortnight based on the daily body weight gain. Total feed was calculated at the rate of 3% of body weight on as fed basis and the amount of concentrate and Lablab purpureus hay was calculated in different ratios (100:0, 75:25, 50:50, 25:75 and 0:100) as indicated in the treatments. The concentrate mixture was composed of 49.5% noug cake 49.5% maize grain and 1% salt. The Lablab purpureus hay was fed to replace concentrate mixture at the rate of 3% of their body weight (40% of total feed) on as fed basis. Both the Lablab purpureus hay and concentrate were offered once a day (in the morning). Clean water was provided free choice. Any refusal Lablab purpureus hay and concentrate were removed and weighed the next morning to calculate intake. The concentrate and Lablab purpureus hay offered were adjusted every fort night based on the daily body weight gain of individual animals in each treatment.

Statistical Analysis

Reproductive and growth parameters were subjected to GLM procedure for RCBD using Statistical Analysis System (SAS, 2009). Treatment means were separated using Least Squares

Yij = + Bi + Tj + Eij, Where; = Overall mean, Bi = Age effect, Tj = Treatment effect, Eij = Experimental error


Results and discussions

Chemical composition of experimental feeds

The natural pasture consisted of 71.6% grasses (Andropogon, Pennisetum, Eragrostis, Cymbopogon, and Hypparrhenia species), 18.4% legumes (Trifolium semiplosum and T tembense), and 10% non-edible broad leaved herbs. Concentrate feed is composed of 49.5% maize grain, 49.5% Noug cake and 1% salt.

Table 2. Chemical composition of experimental diet

Feed ingredient (%)

DM

OM

CP

NDF

ADF

DOMD

Concentrate Feed

89.7

93

21.32

31.85

17.13

76.38

Lablab purpureus

90.2

89.26

16.78

48.47

29.89

66.42

Natural pasture

88.5

89.32

7.73

74.14

48.95

43.91

Body weight gain and average daily gain

Heifers fed a diet with different proportion of concentrate to Lablab purpureus hay ratio of dietary LP0 had higher P=0.001(Table 3) daily body weight gain (401.39 g) than the heifers fed other dietary. Heifers fed concentrate to Lablab purpureus hay ratio of dietary LP0 attained puberty at 204kg (70%) of the mature body weight while those fed dietary LP100 reached puberty at 231 kg (75%) of the mature body weight. The dietary LP100 did not support accelerated growth and delayed age at first on heat and age at first service. The average daily growth rate from 6.55 - 6.57 months of age was calculated for all groups. The rate of daily live weight gains was higher under dietary LP0> LP25> LP50> LP75> LP100. This might be attributed due to increased level of protein content of feed and digestibility of nutrients. Vivek et al (2015), were reported on the growth rate in FS, and JS female’s calves 0.55 and 0.52 respectively.

Table 3. Growth performance of the Calves heifers fed diets with different proportion of concentrate to Lablab purpureus hay ratios

Parameter

Treatments

SEM

p

LP0

LP25

LP50

LP75

LP100

BW (kg)

23.25

23.00

23.75

24.00

23.50

0.46

0.573

WW(kg)

53.75

54.00

53.0

53.50

54.25

0.74

0.767

IBW( kg)

90.00

88.75

88.00

90.75

88.75

3.76

0.99

FBW(KG) at 24 month

306.75a

293.5ab

283.5bc

272.75dcd

256d

6.12

0.004

AWG (g/day)

401.39a

379.16ab

362.04bc

337.03cd

309.72d

9.20

0.001

IA (month)

6.55

6.600

6.600

6.64

6.67

0.28

0.998

BW: birth weight, WW: weaning weight, IBW: initial body weight before starting of Experiment, FBW: final body weight, AWG: average weight again per day, IA: initial age in month before starting experiment



Figure 1. Effect of different proportion of concentrate to
Lablab purpureus hay ratio on Calves growth
Feed intake

Among all this dietary, LP100 fed intake was higher (P=0.034), while dietary LP0 is lower feed intake. Nutritional quality is extremely important for growing heifers incite promotes good growth and better subsequent reproduction and production performance of the animals. This could be achieved by adjusting concentrate to forage ratio in the diet in such proportions that the nutritional requirement of the animal is adequately the different phases of the growing period. According to Funston et al 2005), improved forage intake increases total dietary energy intake. In mature forage-based diets, inadequate supply of nitrogen to the rumen would be the main factor limiting feed intake and digestibility, which would in turn lead to limited energy intake by the animal (Mathis 2000). Thus, correcting protein deficiency would be the first step in designing a supplementation program for animals fed poor quality forage as a basal diet.

Reproduction

Heifers fed a diet (LP0) came in heat earlier (P=0.001) than the heifers fed other dietary. In this experiment weight at first heat and age at first service were different (P=0.001). The age at first service reported in this study is shorter than the values reported in earlier studies (Eshetu et al 2015; Debir Legesse Belay 2016) which reported average age at first service of 33.44 and 30.6) months for Holstein Friesian–Zebu crosses.

Figure 2. Effect of different proportion of concentrate to Lablab
purpureus
hay ratio on age at first service

The results obtained in our study is consistent with the findings of previous studies and reviews (Bhatti et al 2007; Gojjam, et al 2011) that dietary supplementation of heifers during their growth will reduce the interval from birth to first service and calving because heifers that grow faster may start cycling and expression of over estrus earlier. The largest age recorded in these areas could have resulted from the low level of management and poor feeding of calves and heifers at the earlier stages, which consequently had reduced growth rate and delayed puberty.

Table 4. Feed intakes and reproductive performance of the heifers fed different proportion of concentrate to Lablab purpureus hay ratios

Parameter

Treatments

SEM

p

LP0

LP25

LP50

LP75

LP100

AFS (month)

18.55a

19.73b

21.65c

22.95d

24.18e

0.24

0.001

Age at puberty

On-set of first heat is a universally accepted sign of puberty. To study the age and live weight of crosses of all parentages, daily use of sexually active teaser bull was started at the age of 13 to 15 months. When we talk about weight and age at puberty of heifer calves were found to be superior in LP0 than others. In LP0 there were all cross-bred heifers (100%) comes in puberty at 15 months of age than others however all the rest crossbred heifers were comes in puberty at 18 month of age. Bhatti et al (2007) and Boulton et al (2015) reported heifers are required to conceive successfully by 15 months of age.

Table 5. Age and weight of crossbred heifers at puberty

Treatments

No. of
animals

Average
weight (kg)

Age
(months)

No of Heifers
in puberty

Age
(months)

Heifers in
puberty

Age at first
service (month)

LP0

6

246.54

6-15

6

6-18

0

18.55

LP25

6

236.63

6-15

3

6-18

3

19.73

LP50

6

229.19

6-15

1

6-18

5

21.65

LP75

6

222.20

6-15

0

6-18

6

22.95

LP100

6

209.54

6-15

0

6-18

6

24.18


Conclusion and recommendation

The study showed that nutritional manipulation of crossbred dairy heifers in the post-weaning period accelerated the growth rate and improved reproductive performance of the heifers.


Acknowledgement

The financial support of Oromia Agricultural Research Institute is gratefully acknowledged.


References

Bhatti S A, Sarwar M, Khan M S and Hussain S M I 2007 Reducing the age at first calving through nutritional manipulations in dairy buffaloes and cows: A review, Pakistan Veterinary Journal, 27(1), 42–47.

Boulton A C, Rushton J, and Wathes D C 2015 The Management and Associated Costs of Rearing Heifers on UK Dairy Farms from Weaning to Conception. Open Journal of Animal Sciences, 5, 294-308. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ojas.2015.53034

Chaudhry M A, Saleem N A, Asghar A A, and Chaudhry M S, 1988 Differences in productive and reproductive performances of Nili-Ravi buffalo heifers due to altered plane of nutrition. Indian Journal of Animal Nutrition, 5(2), pp.87-93.

Debir Legesse Belay 2016 Assessment of Reproductive Performance of Local and crossbred Dairy Cattle in Sidama Zone, Southern Ethiopia.Journal of Natural Sciences Research ISSN 2224-3186 (Paper) ISSN 2225-0921 (Online) Vol.6, No.9, 2016 www.iiste.org

Eshetu S 2015 Productive and reproductive performance of dairy cows (Horro, Horro X Friesian and Horro X Jersey) At Bako Agricultural Research Center (Doctoral dissertation, MSC thesis research Haramya University, Haramaya, Ethiopia).

Funston R N, Lipsey R J, Geary T W and Roberts A J 2005 Effect of administration of human chorionic gonadotropin after artificial insemination on concentrations of progesterone and conception rates in beef heifers. Journal of animal science, 83(6), pp.1403-1405.

Gojjam Y, Tolera A and Mesfin R 2011 Management options to accelerate growth rate and reduce age at first calving in Friesian–Boran crossbred heifers. Tropical animal health and production, 43(2), pp.393-399.

Heinrichs A J, Heinrichs B S, Harel O, Rogers G W and Place N T 2005 A prospective study of calf factors affecting age, body size, and body condition score at first calving of Holstein dairy heifers. Journal of Dairy Science, 88(8), pp.2828-2835.

Mathis C P, Cochran R C, Heldt J S, Woods B C, Abdelgadir I O, Olson K C, Titgemeyer E C and Vanzant E S 2000 Effects of supplemental degradable intake protein on utilization of medium-to low-quality forages. Journal of Animal Science, 78(1), pp.224-232.

NRC 2001 Nutrient requirements of dairy cattle. 7th rev. ed. Natl. Acad. Sci., Washington, DC.USA.

Pawan Singh Dabas, Chikkagoudara , Kotresh Prasad and GirishPanchbhai 2019 A review on Optimizing Age at First Calving in Dairy Animals under Tropical Climate. Chapter March 2019

SAS (Statistical Analysis System) 2009 SAS Institute Inc, NC, USA.

Vivek Pratap Singh, MayankDubey and Rajendra K. Pandey 2015 Effect of Different Feed Combinations on the Growth Performance of Cross-Bred Heifer Calves. Asian Journal of Animal Sciences, 9: 225-232.

Wiltbank JN, Roberts S, Nix J and Rowden L 1985 Reproductive performance and profitability of heifers fed to weigh 272 or 318 kg at the start of the first breeding season. Journal of Animal Science, 60(1), pp.25-34.