Keywords: replacement heifers, live weight, growth intensity, silage, sorghum, nutrients, chemical composition
The article experimentally substantiates the dynamics of changes in live weight and growth intensity of repair heifers of the Ukrainian Black-and-White dairy breed using silage from a mixture of corn and sorghum.
The research was conducted on three groups of 9-month-old Ukrainian Black-and-White dairy heifers with a live weight of 227 kg, 9 heads in each group. Heifers of the first (control) group received a diet consisting of corn silage. In the diets of the animals of the second and third (experimental) groups, respectively, 50% and 100% of this silage was replaced with silage made from the green mass of combined corn and sorghum crops.
The use of corn-sorghum silage in the diets of heifers slightly reduced the crude protein content in the diet, but it met the detailed feeding standards. The crude fiber content per 1 kg of dry matter of the diets was almost the same and amounted to 211, 215 and 219 g/kg of dry matter in the groups, respectively.
The replacement of silage in the rations of heifers of the experimental groups contributed to an increase in their average daily gain, compared to the control group, on the fourth and fifth month of the experiment, respectively, by 3.0 and 11.2 % and by 8.2 and 13.8 % (p≤0.05), respectively, which is probably due to a lower degree of rumen protein breakdown, resulting in a greater amount of it entering the small intestine, where it was actually absorbed.
According to the results of the research, taking into account the fact that the yield of green mass of combined crops of sorghum and corn is at least one and a half times higher than that of corn, it can be said that in order to ensure sustainable feed supply to the livestock industry in the face of climate change, as well as to increase feed production per unit of land area, while reducing their cost, it is advisable to use silage made from combined crops of sorghum and corn in the technology of growing heifers.
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