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Enhancing comprehensive growth through increasing skeletal growth in the dry season

​This project investigated the effect of dietary energy and crude protein content on skeletal elongation rate (SER) in cattle and sheep undergoing periods of nutritional restriction and re-alimentation. One of the major aims of this project was to determine if growth in skeletal height could be "un-coupled" with changes in live weight (LW) for growing steers and subsequently drive additional frame size to enhance compensatory LW gain in the wet season. Gene expression of growth plate tissue and plasma hormone analysis indicated that IGF-1 was central to the cellular pathways responsible for controlling changes in skeletal elongation. When growing steers were fed diets resulting in minimal LW gain, metabolisable energy (ME) was the primary nutritional factor that controlled growth, skeletal elongation, bone formation and hormonal and growth plate gene expression response to the diet. The low ME diets also led to reduced bone volume and rib cortical thinning because of reduced bone formation. The addition of crude protein or exogenous bovine somatotropin to a low ME diet was not able to drive additional hip height (HH) gain or compensatory growth. The LW:HH relationship appears to be central to animal growth. Strategies to manage growth paths where animals diverge further from the normal LW:HH are likely to yield more effective compensatory LW gain between seasons. "


Title Size Date published
5.4MB 21/12/2017


Contract No. Title Start date End date Funding type
Enhancing compensatory growth through increasing skeletal growth in the dry season
31/03/2012 31/10/2016

This page was last updated on 05/07/2018

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