Effects of corn processing on growth characteristics, rumen development, and rumen parameters in neonatal dairy calves

K. E. Lesmeister, A. J. Heinrichs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations

Abstract

Neonatal Holstein calves were fed texturized calf starters containing 33% whole (WC), dry-rolled (DRC), roasted-rolled (RC), or steam-flaked (SFC) corn to investigate how corn processing method affects intake, growth, rumen and blood metabolites, and rumen development. In the first experiment, 92 Holstein calves (52 male and 40 female) were started at 2 ± 1 d of age and studied for 42 d. Starter dry matter (DM) intake was measured and fecal scoring conducted daily. Growth and blood parameter measurements were conducted weekly. A subset of 12 male calves (3/treatment) was euthanized at 4 wk of age and rumen tissue sampled for rumen epithelial development measurements. Experiment 2 consisted of 12 male Holstein calves ruminally cannulated at 7 ± 1 d of age. Rumen fluid and blood samples were collected during wk 2 to 6. In the first experiment, postweaning and overall starter and total DM intake were significantly higher in calves fed starter with DRC than RC or SFC. Postweaning and overall starter and total DM intake were significantly higher in calves fed starter with WC than SFC. Postweaning average daily gain was significantly greater in calves fed starter with DRC than SFC. Blood volatile fatty acid concentrations were significantly higher in calves fed starter with SFC than in calves fed all other treatments. Papillae length and rumen wall thickness at 4 wk were significantly greater in calves fed starter with SFC than DRC and WC, respectively. In experiment 2, calves fed starter with WC had higher rumen pH and lower rumen volatile fatty acid concentrations than calves fed all other starters. Rumen propionate production was increased in calves receiving starter with SFC; however, rumen butyrate production was higher in calves fed starter with RC. Results indicate that the type of processed corn incorporated into calf starter can influence intake, growth, and rumen parameters in neonatal calves. Calves consuming starter containing RC had similar body weight, feed efficiency, and rumen development but increased structural growth and ruminai butyrate production when compared with the other corn processing treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3439-3450
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of dairy science
Volume87
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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