2024 : 7 : 15
Mehdi Hossein Yazdi

Mehdi Hossein Yazdi

Academic rank: Assistant Professor
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3763-6507
Education: PhD.
ScopusId: 55332944500
Faculty: Agriculture and Environment
Address: Arak University


Effects of alfalfa hay and its physical form (chopped versus pelleted) on performance of Holstein calves
calf, forage, growth, weaning
Journal Journal of Dairy Science
Researchers Meghdad Jahani Moghadam ، Ehsan Mahjoubi ، Mehdi Hossein Yazdi ، Felipe Cardoso ، James Drackley


Inclusion of forage and its physical form in starter may affect rumen development, average daily gain (ADG), and dry matter intake (DMI) of dairy calves. To evaluate the effects of forage and its physical form (chopped vs. pelleted) on growth of calves under a high milk feeding regimen, 32 Holstein calves (38.8 ± 1.1 kg) were assigned at birth to 1 of 3 treatments in a completely randomized block design. Dietary treatments (% of dry matter) were (1) 100% semi-texturized starter (CON); (2) 90% semi-texturized starter + 10% chopped alfalfa hay (mean particle size = 5.4 mm) as a total mixed ration (TMR; CH); and (3) 90% semi-texturized starter + 10% pelleted alfalfa (mean = 5.8 mm) hay as a TMR (PH). Data were subjected to mixed model analysis with contrasts used to evaluate effect of forage inclusion. Calves were weaned at 76 d of age and the experiment finished 2 wk after weaning. Individual milk and solid feed consumption were recorded daily. Solid feed consumption and ADG increased as age increased (effect of week), but neither forage inclusion nor physical form of forage affected these variables pre- or postweaning. Plasma urea N was affected by treatments such that the CON group had a lower concentration than forage-fed groups. Forage inclusion, but not physical form, resulted in increased total protein in plasma. Although days with elevated rectal temperature, fecal score, and general appearance were not affected by dietary treatments, calves fed alfalfa hay during the first month of life had fewer days with respiratory issues, regardless of physical form of hay. We concluded that provision of forage does have some beneficial effects in calves fed large amounts of milk replacer, but pelleted alfalfa hay did not result in any improvement in calf performance or health.