Research-Article| Volume 72, ISSUE 3, P746-766, March 1989

Impact of Protein Nutrition on Reproduction in Dairy Cows

  • Author Footnotes
    1 Current address: Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
    James D. Ferguson
    1 Current address: Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
    Center for Animal Health and Productivity2, New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square 19348
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  • William Chalupa
    Center for Animal Health and Productivity2, New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square 19348
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  • Author Footnotes
    1 Current address: Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
    2 Sections of Clinical Reproduction and Nutrition; Department of Clinical Studies at New Bolton Center.
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      In most but not all published studies, feeding diets with high concentrations of crude protein decreased reproductive efficiency. We were able to resolve some of the inconsistencies among published reports by considering the fate of consumed protein in the rumen and then using logistic regression analysis to identify factors affecting pregnancy. Our models showed that type and amount of protein fed explained much of the variation in conception rate. Age and dietary concentration of energy were identified as modifiers of the impact of protein on reproduction. Protein nutrition can affect reproduction through toxic effects of ammonia and its metabolites on gametes and early embryos, through deficiencies of amino acids, and by exacerbations of negative balances of energy. Alterations in the hypothalamic-hypophyseal-ovarian axis may be responsible for many of the effects of protein on reproduction.


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