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Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 149–154 | Cite as

Replacement of Tifton hay by spineless cactus in Girolando post-weaned heifers´ diets

  • Leonardo José Assis de BarrosEmail author
  • Marcelo de Andrade Ferreira
  • Julio César Vieira de Oliveira
  • Djalma Cordeiro dos Santos
  • Juana Catarina Cariri Chagas
  • Adryanne Marjorie Souza Vitor Alves
  • Aghata Elins Moreira da Silva
  • Wandemberg Rocha Freitas
Regular Articles

Abstract

This study aims to evaluate the effect of the Tifton 85 hay (Cynodon dactylon L. Pers) replacement by Orelha de Elefante Mexicana spineless cactus (Opuntia stricta [Haw.] Haw) on the nutrient intake and digestibility, growth performance, microbial protein synthesis, and efficiency of dietary nitrogen compound utilization in the diets of Girolando heifers. Twenty-four (3.5 months and 100 kg ± 3.5 kg) Girolando heifers (5/8 Holstein x Gyr) were used and arranged in a completely randomized design. Dry matter, organic matter, crude protein, and neutral detergent fiber decreased linearly as a function of the levels of Tifton hay (TH) replacement by Orelha de Elefante Mexicana spineless cactus (OEM). The non-fiber carbohydrate intake and coefficient of dry matter digestibility increased, while the neutral detergent fiber (NDF) digestibility decreased linearly with the OEM inclusion. After evaluating the growth performance by observing weight gain and morphometric measurements, there were no significant alterations. The urinary volume, nitrogen balance as well as the efficiency of nitrogen retention had increased, while the urinary and plasma urea concentrations had decreased linearly with the OEM inclusion. The results obtained in this study show that Orelha de Elefante Mexicana spineless cactus should replace Tifton hay in post-weaned heifer diets.

Keywords

Dairy cattle Drought Semi-arid Crossbred Performance 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Agronomic Institute of Pernambuco (IPA), the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), and the Commission for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) for financing this assay.

Compliance with ethical standards

Statement of animal rights

All procedures were conducted in accordance with the guidelines set by the Brazilian College of Animal Experimentation and approved by the Ethics Committee on Use of Animal for Research (CEUA) of the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco (license 069/2016).

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonardo José Assis de Barros
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marcelo de Andrade Ferreira
    • 1
  • Julio César Vieira de Oliveira
    • 2
  • Djalma Cordeiro dos Santos
    • 2
  • Juana Catarina Cariri Chagas
    • 1
  • Adryanne Marjorie Souza Vitor Alves
    • 1
  • Aghata Elins Moreira da Silva
    • 1
  • Wandemberg Rocha Freitas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal ScienceUniversidade Federal Rural de PernambucoRecifeBrazil
  2. 2.Experimental Station of ArcoverdeInstituto Agronômico de PernambucoArcoverdeBrazil

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