Effects of Polyurethane Coated Urea Supplement on In vitro Ruminal Fermentation, Ammonia Release Dynamics and Lactating Performance of Holstein Dairy Cows Fed a Steam-flaked Corn-based Diet

  • Xin, H.S. (College of Animal Science and Technology, Northeast Agricultural University) ;
  • Schaefer, D.M. (Department of Animal Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison) ;
  • Liu, Q.P. (International Ingredient Corporation) ;
  • Axe, D.E. (Agri-Nutrient Technology Group) ;
  • Meng, Q.X. (College of Animal Science and Technology, State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition China Agricultural University)
  • Received : 2009.02.28
  • Accepted : 2009.06.15
  • Published : 2010.04.01


Three experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of polyurethane coated urea on in vitro ruminal fermentation, ammonia release dynamics and lactating performance of Holstein dairy cows fed a steam-flaked corn-based diet. In Exp. 1, a dual-flow continuous culture was run to investigate the effect of polyurethane coated urea on nutrient digestibility, rumen fermentation parameters and microbial efficiency. Three treatment diets with isonitrogenous contents (13.0% CP) were prepared: i) feedgrade urea (FGU) diet; ii) polyurethane coated urea (PCU) diet; and iii) isolated soy protein (ISP) diet. Each of the diets consisted of 40% steam-flaked corn meal, 58.5% forages and 1.5% different sources of nitrogen. PCU and FGU diets had significantly lower digestibility of NDF and ADF (p<0.01) than the ISP diet. Nitrogen source had no significant effect (p = 0.62) on CP digestibility. The microbial efficiency (expressed as grams of microbial N/kg organic matter truly digested (OMTD)) in vitro of the PCU diet (13.0 g N/kg OMTD) was significantly higher than the FGU diet (11.3 g N/kg OMTD), but comparable with the ISP diet (14.7 g N/kg OMTD). Exp. 2, an in vitro ruminal fermentation experiment, was conducted to determine the ammonia release dynamics during an 8 h ruminal fermentation. Three treatment diets were based on steam-flaked corn diets commonly fed to lactating cows in China, in which FGU, PCU or soybean meal (SBM) was added to provide 10% of total dietary N. In vitro $NH_3-N$ concentrations were lower (p<0.05) for the PCU diet than the FGU diet, but similar to that for the SBM diet at all time points. In Exp. 3, a lactation trial was performed using 24 lactating Holstein cows to compare the lactating performance and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) concentrations when cows were fed PCU, FGU and SBM diets. Cows consuming the PCU diet had approximately 12.8% more (p = 0.02) dietary dry matter intake than those consuming the FGU diet. Cows fed the PCU diet had higher milk protein content (3.16% vs. 2.94%) and lower milk urea nitrogen (MUN) concentration (13.0 mg/dl vs. 14.4 mg/dl) than those fed the FGU diet. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) concentration was significantly lower for cows fed the PCU (16.7 mg/dl) and SBM (16.4 mg/dl) diets than the FGU (18.7 mg/dl) diet. Cows fed the PCU diet had less surplus ruminal N than those fed the FGU diet and produced a comparable lactation performance to the SBM diet, suggesting that polyurethane coated urea can partially substitute soybean meal in the dairy cow diet without impairing lactation performance.


Polyurethane Coated Urea;Rumen Fermentation;Ruminal Ammonia Release;Lactating Performance


Supported by : China MOA


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