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Live weight and body conformation responses of culled local yellow cows fed maize silage and urea-treated rice straw in an intensive feedlot system in Northwest Vietnam

Nguyen D.V., Tran N.B.T., Vang M.A., Le H.T.T., Nguyen G.T.T., Nguyen Q.H., Blanchard M., Bailey A., Ives S.. 2021. Advances in Animal and Veterinary Sciences, 9 (8) : p. 1283-1291.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the substitution of maize silage (MS) for urea-treated rice straw (URS) in feedlot diets on finishing performance and body conformation traits of culled local Yellow cows; and to develop prediction equations for live weight (LW) of local Yellow cows using these body measurements. Twelve non-pregnant local Yellow cows (74.8 ± 23.6 months of age) were blocked by weight into 4 groups and then randomly allocated to one of three roughage treatments: 30% fresh maize + 70% URS (DM basis) (Control); 30% fresh maize + 40% URS + 30% MS (LMS); 30% fresh maize + 20% URS + 50% MS (HMS). Cows were individually supplemented with concentrate (1.1 kg DM/100 kg LW) and had free access to mixed roughage and water throughout the 12-week feeding trial, after a 2-week adaptation. Maize silage inclusion significantly increased daily feed intake and average daily gain (ADG) (P < 0.05). Moreover, the roughage containing 30% MS recorded the lowest feed conversion rate (7.8) and the highest final body condition score (3.43). However, LW and body measurements were not affected by the substitution (P > 0.05). Positive and significant correlations between LW and body measurements were observed. Regression analysis between chest girth (CG) and LW resulted in an equation with adjusted an R2 value of 82.0%. The multiple regression, which included CG, body length (BL) and withers height (WH) yielded the most reliable equation (adjusted R2 = 87.4%). The results indicate that MS can be a good alternative roughage source for feedlot culled local Yellow cows during winter in Northwest Vietnam. It is highly recommended that smallholder farmers raising non-pregnant Yellow cows use the regression equation: LW = 3.39 CG - 249 for prediction of LW in the absence of weighing scales.

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