A review of factors influencing milk urea concentration and its relationship with urinary urea excretion in lactating dairy cattle

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Abstract

Milk urea nitrogen (MUN) concentration in dairy cows may serve as an on-farm indicator to guide nutritional strategies and to help reduce emissions of nitrogen (N) to the environment. Excretion of urinary urea nitrogen (UUN) is positively related to MUN, but the relationship is highly variable. The accuracy of MUN as a predictor of UUN may improve when various factors that affect this relationship can be taken into account. The current review discusses the impact of a number of UUN : MUN ratio influencing factors related to: physiological mechanisms in the dairy cow, farm management, differences between individual cows, nutrition and analysis methods for MUN. Factors related to variation in water intake, urine production, dietary protein level, body weight (BW) and time and frequency of feeding and milking are shown to affect MUN and its relationship with UUN. In addition, a number of factors are discussed that are likely to affect this relationship such as biological rhythm, renal reabsorption of urea during periods of protein deficiency and breeding value for MUN. Accounting for these above-mentioned factors in the relationship between MUN and UUN might substantially improve the applicability and accuracy of MUN as a predictor of protein utilization efficiency and UUN.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-423
JournalThe Journal of Agricultural Science
Volume151
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • oscillating dietary-protein
  • bovine ruminal epithelium
  • medullary collecting duct
  • dry-matter digestibility
  • sheep rumen epithelium
  • nitrogen-excretion
  • sodium-chloride
  • nutrient digestibility
  • short communication
  • genetic-parameters

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