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Precision diet formulation incorporating isoenergetic lipid and carbohydrate supplementations as water intake mitigation strategies for Holstein nursing bull calves
AuthorMacias Franco, Arturo
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As resource availability continues to diminish, livestock operations and producers will continue to garner unfounded and poor-evidenced attacks. Regardless of these inconsistencies and poorly evidenced attacks towards livestock production, many producers and scientists worldwide continue pursuing technologies, feedstuffs, and management systems that can even further diminish the environmental footprints of livestock operations. Amongst the most controversial topics, water footprint is often utilized to generate unrealistically negative representations of livestock operations. Though current water footprint models are unrealistic and empirically flawed, researchers and producers can continue to improve production systems and therefore educate the public through the generation of accurate models. Livestock operations are often essential in many communities in the developed and developing world. For instance, dairy operations are often considered a large contributor to the Nevada economy. Dairy operations generally center sustainability efforts in the cow-milking processes, which could disregard a potentially important area for possible improvement, the bull calves. Most bull calves from dairy operations are often sold young for their inability to contribute to dairy production.Nonetheless, these animals have great potential and present a unique opportunity for filling much-needed niche markets in local economies. Ruminant animals can generate nutrient-dense and balanced feeds for human consumption out of human inedible by-products. The many wonders often achievable by ruminant animals are studied in many branches of science; however, there is great potential in examining ruminant animals at a young age. That is when their rumen is not fully functional. This unique physiological and anatomical characteristic of calves opens the door for precision diet formulation using high lipid and high soluble carbohydrate energy supplementation that could otherwise be deemed damaging to adult ruminant species. The work presented herein aims to enlighten the potential voluntary water intake and water footprint reduction through isoenergetic supplementation without adverse effects on health and performance.