Young heifer calves represent the future of a dairy farm and need to be fed so they can express their full genetic potential during their productive life. Many challenges can impair their optimal development such as management flaws, disease, and sub-optimal nutrition. Despite the farmer’s efforts some of these stressors may show-up and compromise their well-being, negatively impacting their development.
Vitamin deficiencies for example (i.e. vitamin E), affect their ability to cope with oxidative stress and hamper the development of their acquired immunity. Taking adequate measures to reduce stress spares natural antioxidants needed for other important body functions. Some feeds possess antinutritional factors, and when included in the ration can further challenge normal metabolism.
Cottonseed meal is a traditional feedstuff commonly used in mature dairy cows. Its competitive price compared to other meals of plant origin makes it an attractive feedstuff. It is however a relatively poor source of the amino acids lysine and methionine, and contains gossypol, a phenolic aldehyde that permeates cells and inhibits several dehydrogenase enzymes.