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Open AccessArticle

Diurnal Concentration of Urinary Nitrogen and Rumen Ammonia Are Modified by Timing and Mass of Herbage Allocation

1
Graduate School, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Universidad Austral de Chile, PO Box 567, Valdivia, Chile
2
Institute for Agricultural Research, Remehue Research Centre, PO Box 24-0, Osorno, Chile
3
Department of Agricultural Science, Lincoln University, PO Box 7647, Lincoln, New Zealand
4
Animal Production Institute, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Universidad Austral de Chile, PO Box 567, Valdivia, Chile
5
Animal Science Institute, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Universidad Austral de Chile, PO Box 567, Valdivia, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(11), 961; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110961
Received: 4 October 2019 / Revised: 1 November 2019 / Accepted: 8 November 2019 / Published: 13 November 2019
Low nitrogen use efficiency in grazing dairy cows leads to high urinary N excretion, which contributes to greenhouse gases emission. This problem has been associated with high N and low energy intake, increasing rumen ammonia (NH3) concentration, and thereby, increasing urinary N excretion. Under this situation, it is important to discover nutritional and grazing management strategies that allow reduced urine N excretion in the pasture. This study evaluated whether changes in time of herbage allocation and herbage mass modify the diurnal pattern of urinary nitrogen (N) concentration and ruminal NH3 of lactating dairy cows. We found that the combination of time of herbage allocation and herbage mass modified rumen NH3 production and urinary N concentration. Results suggest that maintaining cows in the holding pen at the milking parlor for two hours after morning and afternoon milking could allow collection of urine from cows in the slurry pit during peak N concentration, returning cows to the pasture at a time of day when urinary N concentration is decreased.
The objective of this work was to evaluate whether changes in time of herbage allocation and herbage mass (HM) (low (L) or medium (M)) modify the diurnal pattern of urinary nitrogen (N) concentration and ruminal ammonia (NH3) of lactating dairy cows. Four Holstein-Friesian cows fitted with rumen cannula were randomly allocated to one of four treatments: 1) low herbage mass in the morning (L-AM) (Access to new herbage allocation after morning milking with a herbage mass (HM) of 2000 kg DM/ha); 2) low herbage mass in the afternoon (L-PM) (Access to new herbage allocation after afternoon milking with a HM of 2000 kg DM/ha); 3) medium herbage mass in the morning (M-AM) (Access to new herbage allocation after morning milking with a HM of 3000 kg DM/ha); and 4) medium herbage mass in the afternoon (M-PM) (Access to new herbage allocation after afternoon milking with a HM of 3000 kg DM/ha). A four by four Latin Square design with four treatments, four cows, and four experimental periods was used to evaluate treatment effects. Rumen NH3 concentration was greater for L-AM compared to L-PM and M-PM at 13:00 and 16:00 h. Urine urea and N concentrations were lower for M-AM compared to L-AM. Urine N concentration was greater for L-AM than other treatments at 10:00 hours and greater for M-PM compared to M-AM at 16:00 hours. Results suggest that maintaining the cows in the holding pen at the milking parlor for two hours after morning grass silage supplementation for L-AM and for two hours after afternoon grass silage supplementation for M-PM, could allow collection of urine from cows at the holding pen and storage of urine in the slurry pit during the time of peak N concentration, returning cows to the pasture at a time of day when urinary N concentration is decreased. View Full-Text
Keywords: circadian nitrogen excretion; grazing management; rumen ammonia; dairy cows circadian nitrogen excretion; grazing management; rumen ammonia; dairy cows
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MDPI and ACS Style

Beltran, I.E.; Gregorini, P.; Daza, J.; Balocchi, O.A.; Morales, A.; Pulido, R.G. Diurnal Concentration of Urinary Nitrogen and Rumen Ammonia Are Modified by Timing and Mass of Herbage Allocation. Animals 2019, 9, 961.

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