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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Sugarcane and cactus cladodes plus urea: a new option for Girolando dairy heifers

Carlos Cruz, Antonio Ariclezio; Chaves Veras, Antonia Sherlanea; Vieira de Oliveira, Julio Cesar; dos Santos, Djalma Cordeiro; Cariri Chagas, Juana Catarina; Menezes Wanderley Neves, Maria Luciana; de Figueiredo Monteiro, Carolina Correa; Ferreira, Marcelo de Andrade


This study was performed to identify the ideal amount of concentrate required for a diet based on cactus cladodes, sugarcane, and urea used to feed heifers. Twenty Girolando heifers (160 +/- 8.39 kg) were randomly distributed into four experimental treatments with 0, 0.40, 0.80, or 1.20 kg day(-1) of concentrate. The basal diet contained [on dry matter (DM) basis] 38.1% sugarcane, 56.5% cactus cladodes [Opuntia stricta (Haw). Haw], 0.5% common salt, 1.1% mineral mixture, and 3.8% urea plus ammonium sulfate. The concentrate contained [on DM basis] 87% corn meal and 13% soybean meal. The basal diet and the concentrate were formulated to provide 13% crude protein (CP). The intake of DM (4.34-4.96 kg day(-1)), organic matter (3.96-4.98 kg day(-1)), CP (0.57-0.64 kg day(-1)), non-fibrous carbohydrates (2.20-2.61 kg day(-1)), and metabolizable energy (10.3-12.4 Mcal day(-1)) increased linearly with concentrate amount. Final body weight (196-224 kg), total body weight gain (36.9-61.2 kg), and average daily body weight gain (0.51-0.85 kg day(-1)) increased linearly with concentrate amount. The nitrogen balance was positive and increased linearly (54.8-62.3 g day(-1)) with concentrate amount. Based on the data, we recommend supplying six-monthold Girolando heifers (160 kg body weight) 1.20 kg concentrate day(-1) added to a diet based on sugarcane and cactus cladodes plus urea for better productive and economic performance.


cactaceous; energy supplementation; non-protein nitrogen; reproduction; tropical forage

Published in

Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia
2020, volume: 49, article number: e20200016

Authors' information

Carlos Cruz, Antonio Ariclezio
Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco (UFRPE)
Chaves Veras, Antonia Sherlanea
Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco (UFRPE)
Vieira de Oliveira, Julio Cesar
Instituto Agronomico de Campinas (IAC)
dos Santos, Djalma Cordeiro
Instituto Agronomico de Campinas (IAC)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden
Menezes Wanderley Neves, Maria Luciana
Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco (UFRPE)
de Figueiredo Monteiro, Carolina Correa
Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco (UFRPE)
Ferreira, Marcelo de Andrade
Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco (UFRPE)

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science

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