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Effect of cull potatoes in the diet for finishing Belgian Blue double-muscled cows

  • L. O. Fiems (a1), J. L. De Boever (a1), J. M. Vanacker (a1) and D. L. De Brabander (a1)

The use of culled potatoes was investigated in Belgian Blue double-muscled finishing cows, confined in tie stalls. The control diet (Treatment 1) consisted of concentrate and maize silage (50/50 on a dry matter (DM) basis). Potatoes either replaced 60% maize silage (Treatment 2) or 60% concentrate (Treatment 3). Diets were formulated to be isocaloric and isonitrogenous. They were fed ad libitum. Approximately 18 kg potatoes were fed daily in Treatments 2 and 3. Daily gain was not significantly altered; it decreased from 1.09 kg (Treatment 1) to 1.04 kg (Treatment 2) or increased to 1.20 kg (Treatment 3), although potatoes stimulated DM intake by 5% to 8% (P < 0.05). Feed conversion was unaffected in comparison with the control diet, when expressed in terms of DM, but energy efficiency (MJ/kg live weight gain) was substantially lower for Treatment 2 compared with Treatment 1 (89.9 v. 79.0; P = 0.046). Carcass weight, grading and composition were not affected by treatments, but potatoes increased dressing percentage (P = 0.009). Treatment had no significant effect on meat quality parameters. However, potatoes (Treatments 2 and 3) tended to decrease moisture content (P = 0.090) and tended to increase drip loss (P = 0.059) compared with Treatment 1. Because of a better animal performance and a lower feed cost, it is most appropriate to use potatoes as a replacement for concentrate. Feeding large amounts of potatoes besides concentrate may have an adverse effect on the fibrousness of the diet, resulting in a tendency (−5%) for a reduced daily gain and a lower energy efficiency (P < 0.05).

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