Author(s): Oldham JD
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Abstract In dairy cows two distinct and important aspects of the interrelationship between protein and energy-yielding nutrients can be identified. First, a change of protein input can influence performance by changing overall plane of nutrition. To a large extent this results from changes of digestibility and associated intake of ration ingredients. Within this context it appears that at high levels of feeding rumen microbial demand for nitrogen per unit fermentable organic matter is high; initial failure to meet this need for nitrogen probably accounts for many responses to protein supplementation in practice through stimulation of ruminal digestion. Second is that changing "protein" supply to tissues can alter the pattern and efficiency of absorbed nutrient use. In early lactation protein supplementation favors partition of available nutrients toward mammary secretion. There are effects on glucose and fatty acid metabolism, all interacting with the endocrine system within a metabolic framework that tends to conserve those nutrients (amino acids, glucose) that are in shortest supply relative to demand. Response to increased input of amino acids depends both on physiological state of the cow and balance of all nutrients absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.
This article was published in J Dairy Sci
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