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Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia

On-line version ISSN 1806-9290


COUTO, Victor Rezende Moreira et al. Energy sources and supplementation levels for beef heifers raised during the dry season. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2010, vol.39, n.11, pp.2494-2501. ISSN 1806-9290.

This experiment aimed at evaluating the productive performance, intake and the apparent digestibility in the raising of beef heifers on Brachiaria decumbens Stapf. pastures under supplementation with starch or fibrous energy sources during the dry season. It was used 40 newly weaned heifers (20 Nellore and 20 crossbreed), at 8.5 months of age and 197.9 ± 3.74 kg initial weight. Two supplements were formulated: the first was corn meal- and soybean meal-based diet (high in starch) and the second was based on wheat meal (high in fiber), which were given at the quantities of 0.5 or 1.0 kg/animal/day, compared to the offer of only mineral mixture (control). The animals were distributed according to a complete randomized block design in a 2 × 2 + 1 factorial arrangement with two sources of energy and two levels of supplementation plus the control treatment; the genetic group was used as a measure of local control. The average daily weight gain was higher for the animals under supplementation than those fed only mineral mixture (0.198 vs. 0.077 kg/animal/day). Moreover, performance of the animals under supplementation with starch energy source was higher than those fed wheat meal-based supplement (0.232 vs. 0.163 kg/animal/day). The intake of pasture dry matter was lower for the group given the highest supplementation level. The supplementation of beef heifers under pasture makes it possible to improve the productive performance. Compared to wheat meal, the use of the corn/soybean mixture meal as the basis of multiple mixture improves the productive performance of the heifers.

Keywords : Brachiaria decumbens; heifers; pasture; wheat meal.

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