Cannas, Antonello and Pes, A. and Mancuso, R. and Vodret, B. and Nudda, Anna (1998) Effect of dietary energy and protein concentration on the concentration of milk urea nitrogen in dairy ewes. Journal of Dairy Science, Vol. 81 (2), p. 499-508. eISSN 1525-3198. Article.
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To study the effects of dietary crude protein (CP) and energy on milk urea N concentrations in dairy sheep, eight pelleted total mixed rations were prepared to obtain two levels of energy density (1.65 and 1.55 Mcal of net energy for lactation per kilogram of dry matter for high energy and low energy rations, respectively) and four concentrations of CP within each energy level (mean CP concentrations, 14.0, 16.4, 18.7, and 21.2% of dry matter). The experimental design consisted of two 4 ´ 4 Latin squares (one per energy level) with two replications per treatment within each 3-wk period. Milk urea N concentrations were similar between dietary energy levels. Within each energy level, milk urea N was linearly and positively associated with dietary CP content and intake (range of milk urea N concentrations, 12.2 to 25.8 mg/dl for ewes fed high energy rations and 12.9 to 26.7 mg/dl for ewes fed low energy rations). The comparison of these results with those from other trials suggested that milk and blood urea N concentrations are closely correlated with dietary CP concentrations and less closely correlated with dietary CP intake. Our results suggest that milk or blood urea N concentrations can be used as indicators of protein metabolism and intake of lactating ewes.
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