on urea concentration in milk


The concentration of milk urea (MU) is a useful measurement for assessing whether the balance between the cow’s intake of protein and energy is correct. Concentrations are variable from herd to herd and between cows in the same herd. To in-terpret the milk urea concentration correctly, it is important to take into account other factors besides the cow’s diet (Carlsson et al., 1995), because, for example, non-nutritional factors explained 13.3% of the variation in MUN (Arunvipas et al., 2003), and production and environmental factors ex-plained 37 % of the MU variation in individual cows (Hojman et al., 2004). One of the most important non-nutritional fac-tors is herd. Rajala-Schultz and Saville (2003) tested the variability of MUN in 12 low-producing herds (rolling herd average milk production < 7.258 kg) and 12 high-producing herds (rolling herd average milk production> 10.433 kg). They found lower variability in milk urea nitrogen (MUN) between test days in the high-producing herds. This may indicate more consistent day-to-day feeding and management within a herd. However, housing fac-tors (tie stall vs. free stall), TMR versus component feeding, feeding frequency, and synchrony of offer-ing forages and concentrates were not associated with herd mean MU (Godden et al., 2001a). Eicher et al. (1999a) stated that herd was a global concept and most likely, a herd effect on MUN would be related to feeding and management procedures. Further studies are needed to more precisely define herd and feeding characteristics with explanator

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