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Meta-analysis of factors that affect the utilization efficiency of phosphorus in lactating dairy cows


A meta-analysis investigation based on literature data was conducted to estimate the effect size of nutritional and animal factors on phosphorus (P) excretion in feces and concentrations of P in milk. Two data sets were created for statistical analysis: One to derive prediction equations for P in feces (25 studies; 130 treatments) and another for P in milk (19 studies; 94 treatments). Prediction equations were derived using mixed model regression analysis with a random effect for study, and equations were evaluated based on values for Bayesian information criterion (BIC), root mean square prediction error (RMSPE), and concordance correlation coefficient (CCC) statistics. In terms of RMSPE and CCC values, fecal P excretion was best predicted by P intake, where P in feces (g/d)=-3.8(±3.45) + 0.64(±0.038) × P intake (g/d) (RMSPE: 18.3%, CCC: 0.869). However, significant effects of crude protein [g/kg of dry matter (DM)], neutral detergent fiber (g/kg of DM), and milk yield (kg/d) on fecal P excretion were also found. Despite a lack of improvement in terms of RMSPE and CCC values, these parameters may still explain part of the variation in fecal P excretion. For milk P, expressed as a fraction of P intake, the following equation had the highest CCC and the lowest RMSPE value: P in milk as a fraction of P intake (g/g)=0.42(±0.065) + 0.23(±0.018) × feed efficiency (i.e., fat- and protein-corrected milk yield/dry matter intake) - 0.11(±0.0199) × P in feed (g/kg of DM) (RMSPE: 19.7%; CCC: 0.761). Equations derived to predict fecal P as a fraction of P intake (g/g) or milk P content (g/kg) could not adequately explain the observed variation and did not perform well in terms of RMSPE and CCC values. Examination of the residuals showed that P balance was a seemingly confounding factor in some of the models. The results presented here can be used to estimate P in feces and milk based on commonly measured dietary and milk variables, but could also be used to guide development of mechanistic models on P metabolism in lactating dairy cattle. Factors to consider in future research and modeling efforts regarding efficiency of P use include the effects of dietary neutral detergent fiber, crude protein, starch, variation in P content of milk, and effects of P resorption from bone and body tissues during early lactation.

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