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This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 88 No. 10, p. 3372-3383
    Received: Oct 07, 2009
    Accepted: June 26, 2010
    Published: December 4, 2014

    2 Corresponding author(s):


Effects of low-protein diets and rumen-protected conjugated linoleic acid on production and carcass traits of growing double-muscled Piemontese bulls1

  1. S. Schiavon 2,
  2. F. Tagliapietra,
  3. M. Dal Maso,
  4. L. Bailoni and
  5. G. Bittante
  1. Department of Animal Science, Università degli studi di Padova, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy



The effects of low-protein (LP) diets and rumen-protected CLA on DMI, ADG, carcass traits, and health status of double-muscled Piemontese young bulls were investigated. Forty-eight bull calves (BW = 237 ± 24 kg) were divided in 4 groups and housed in 12 fully slatted pens. Bulls were fed 2 diets differing in CP density [high-protein (HP) diet: CP = 145 g/kg of DM; LP diet: CP = 108 g/kg of DM] and top-dressed with 80 g/d of rumen-protected CLA or 65 g/d of hydrogenated soybean oil. Orts were collected weekly and feed intake was estimated on a pen basis, with 3 replicated pens for each treatment. Each bull was weighed monthly and examined for alterations of the locomotion system by using the locomotion score as an index of lameness and by counting the number of swollen joints. Carcass quality traits were measured at slaughter, after a feeding period of 332 d. Compared with HP, LP reduced ADG only during the first 4 mo of the trial (1.30 vs. 1.53 kg/d, P = 0.003). However, because of compensatory growth, over the whole trial, no significant effects attributable to CP or to additive were found on final BW (668 kg), ADG (1.19 kg/d), DMI (8.50 or 86 g/d per kg of BW0.75), dressing percentage (67.3%), carcass conformation (5.2 points), and carcass fat covering (1.87 points). Feed efficiency was affected by a CP × additive interaction (P = 0.030), with CLA improving feed efficiency when added to the LP diets, whereas feed efficiency was reduced with the HP diets. The addition of both LP and CLA reduced the number of bulls presenting swollen joints (P = 0.001), and LP improved the locomotion score (P = 0.021) compared with HP. It was concluded that 10.8 g/kg of CP density in the diet is sufficient for double-muscled Piemontese bulls. The reduction in CP density from 145 to 108 g/kg of DM, in addition to reducing the feeding cost, allows a strong reduction in N consumption without negative consequences on growth performance and carcass traits.

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