Animal Science, Department of


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Prezotto, L.D.; Thorson, J.F. Effect of Dietary Urea in Gestating Beef Cows: Circulating Metabolites, Morphometrics, and Mammary Secretions. Animals 2023, 13, 6. ani13010006


Open access.


Prolific use of supplementation strategies, including the utilization of urea, are practiced in beef cattle production systems. Unfortunately, the influence of urea supplementation on metabolics, adipose tissue mobilization, and mammary secretions is limited in beef cows. Therefore, the objectives of this experiment were to assess the influence of urea supplementation on metabolic profiles, morphometrics, and mammary secretions. Pregnant, multiparous beef cows were fed individually and assigned to treatment (n = 4/treatment) as Control or Urea Supplementation. Blood samples and body weight were collected every 28 d throughout gestation. Backfat thickness was measured via ultrasonography on days 28 and 280 of gestation. Total mammary secretions were sampled for composition. Concentrations of beta-hydroxybutyrate, non-esterified fatty acids, glucose, and plasma urea nitrogen did not differ by treatment. Body weight and backfat thickness changed in response to the progression of gestation, but did not differ between treatments. Finally, concentration of urea nitrogen increased in mammary secretions of cows fed urea, but total content of urea nitrogen in mammary secretions did not differ between treatments. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that the pregnant beef cow undergoes metabolic adaptation during gestation. However, urea supplementation failed to improve any of the morphometric parameters of the dams assessed.