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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Dicostanzo, A
item Zehnder, C
item Akayezu, J
item Jorgensen, M
item Cassady, J
item Allen, D
item Standorf, D
item Linn, J
item Jung, Hans joachim
item Smith, L

Submitted to: Nutrition Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Alfalfa leaf meal (ALM) is a suitable substitute for hay and soybean meal in diets of lactating dairy cows, although some question remains as to the performance and body weight response to ALM supplementation during a whole lactation. As a component of starter diets, ALM has the potential to enhance intake and gain when constituting 12% of the starter dry matter (DM). At greater inclusion proportions, ALM may reduce intake in young ruminants. In dairy calves (aged 4 to 40 d), this reduction in intake may or may not be accompanied by a reduction in gain. The latter was the case when suckling calves were offered creep feed for 80 d before weaning. In receiving diets, dry matter intake enhancement may not be accompanied by a gain response; thus, feed DM required/kg gain may increase. This effect does not appear to carry over into the finishing period. In fact, finishing steers fed 9% of their diet DM as ALM had faster gains at greater intakes. The most "adequate" inclusion level for ALM appears to be between 7 and 12 of the diet DM in beef cattle. Effects of ALM on incidence of liver abscess in feedlot diets are somewhat inconclusive and warrant further study. Similarly, efforts to enhance the value of ALM through heating to render a bypass protein source must focus on reducing exposure time or temperature.

Last Modified: 8/24/2016
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