Spelt as an ingredient in concentrates for rearing calves

Leo Fiems, Johan De Boever, José Vanacker, Sam De Campeneere, Daniël De Brabander

    Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftA1: Web of Science-artikelpeer review


    A palatable concentrate may stimulate intake and ease weaning stress. This study
    investigated the effect of the incorporation of spelt in the concentrate on calf performance (Experiment 1) and the palatability (Experiment 2). Sixty-six newborn Belgian Blue double-muscled female calves were involved in Experiment 1 to investigate the effect of incorporating 30% spelt grain in the concentrate (S+) as a replacement for 15% barley and 15% wheat (S-) during a 143-day rearing period. Calves received reconstituted milk at 10% of their birth weight. They were weaned when concentrate intake achieved 0.75 kg/day. Grass hay was fed ad lib. After the rearing period all calves were adapted during 2 weeks to the same diet, fed to appetite, and consisting of maize silage and concentrate without spelt. Performances were investigated during 4 weeks. Spelt reduced the in vitro organic matter digestibility and the net energy content of the concentrate from 91.5% and 7.4 MJ/kg to 88.1% and 7.0 MJ/kg, respectively. It stimulated concentrate intake initially, so that calves were weaned after 58 days compared to 67 days for calves fed S- concentrate (P=0.012). A higher amount of dry matter (P=0.056) was required per kg live-weight gain for S+ concentrate, but energy efficiency was similar for both treatments (P=0.415). Daily live-weight gain for the entire rearing period was not affected (P=0.970) and averaged 0.77 kg. Daily live-weight gain and feed intake were lower for the S+ treatment during the transition period (P<0.001), but neither age at 1st calving nor post-partum live-weight was affected. Five Holstein-Friesian females and five Belgian Blue double-muscled females, aging 203±8 (mean±standard error) days initially, and unaccustomed to eating S- and S+ concentrates, were involved in a preference test (Experiment 2). Both concentrates were administered free choice. Grass hay was fed ad lib. Concentrate intake was registered during 4 consecutive days at 0.5, 1, 3, 5, 8 and 24 h after the morning feeding. Concentrate containing spelt was preferred by Holstein-Friesian calves but not by Belgian Blue calves, resulting in a concentratebreed interaction. This interaction emphasised the complex role of sensory and metabolic signals in the control of feed intake. It was concluded that spelt can stimulate concentrate intake, so that rearing calves can be weaned earlier. However, the preference of concentrate containing spelt exerted no major effect on animal performance during the entire rearing period.
    Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
    TijdschriftLivestock Science
    Pagina's (van-tot)349–356
    Aantal pagina’s8
    PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - 10-nov-2012


    • B350-groei-van-dieren
    • B420-voeding


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