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J Anim Sci. 2005 Nov;83(11):2590-7.

Measurements of heat production for estimation of maintenance energy requirements of Hereford steers.

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Research Unit Nutritional Physiology Oskar Kellner, Research Institute for the Biology of Farm Animals (FBN), D-18196 Dummerstorf, Germany.


This study aimed to test the hypothesis that maintenance energy requirement (MEm) can be estimated from continuous heat production measurements during a change from a near maintenance feeding level to far below maintenance for two consecutive days. The MEm of eight Hereford steers weighing 286 +/- 5 kg (mean +/- SE) was determined in a balance trial. In addition, during the 10-d collection period, the animals were kept in open-circuit respiration chambers to measure 24-h gas exchange continuously at 10-min intervals. During the balance trial, the animals were fed dried chopped grass twice daily at an estimated level of 1.2 x MEm. After termination of the collection period on the 11th d of the balance trial, the steers were offered 2 kg/d of wheat straw while only gas exchange was measured. Estimates of MEm were derived from heat production (HP) data. The analyses included values of 24-h HP, HP of the nocturnal period (0000 to 0630), HP of the nocturnal period (excluding HP caused by standing) during the grass-feeding period and 24-h HP, nocturnal HP, and nocturnal HP (excluding HP caused by standing) during the straw feeding period. The MEm predicted from estimates of HP measurements were 536 +/- 9, 470 +/- 8, 441 +/- 8, 435 +/- 8, 393 +/- 9, and 373 +/- 9 of BW(-0.75).d(-1), respectively, whereas MEm calculated from data of the balance trial were 416 +/- 9 of BW(-0.75).d(-1). Values predicted for nocturnal HP (excluding HP caused by standing) of grass fed animals, 24-h HP, and nocturnal HP during straw feeding did not differ significantly from MEm. The differences in MEm among animals were reflected by all estimates of HP, whereas the correlation with the 24-h HP during straw feeding reached 0.9 (P = 0.002). We conclude that the method described is adequate to determine MEm with a sufficient degree of accuracy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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