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J Dairy Sci. 2003 Mar;86(3):906-15.

Supplemental carbohydrate sources for lactating dairy cows on pasture.

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  • 1Department of Dairy and Animal Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802, USA.


Two experiments were conducted to evaluate steam-flaked corn and nonforage fiber sources as supplemental carbohydrates for lactating dairy cows on pasture. Cows were allotted to a new paddock of an orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) pasture twice daily in one group in both trials. In experiment 1, 28 Holstein cows, averaging 216 d in milk, were randomly assigned to either a cracked-corn (CC) or a steam-flaked (SFC) supplement in a split plot design. The supplement contained 66.7% of corn and a protein/mineral pellet. In experiment 2, 28 Holstein cows, averaging 182 d in milk, were randomly assigned to either a ground corn (GC) or a nonforage fiber (NFF)-based supplemented in a single reversal design. The GC supplement contained 85% ground corn plus protein, mineral, and vitamins. The NFF supplement contained 35% ground corn, 18% beet pulp, 18% soyhulls, 8% wheat middlings plus protein, mineral, and vitamins. In both experiments, cows were fed the grain supplement twice daily after each milking at 1 kg/4 kg milk. In experiment 1, milk production (24.3 kg/d) and composition did not differ between treatments; however, plasma and milk urea N were lower with the SFC supplement. In experiment 2, milk production (27.5 kg/d) was not affected by treatments, which may be related to the medium quality of pasture grazed. The GC supplement tended to reduce plasma and milk urea N and increased milk protein percentage (3.23 vs. 3.19%). Pasture dry matter intake, measured using Cr2O3, did not differ between treatments in either experiment 1 (15.1 kg/d) or experiment 2 (12.2 kg/d). Milk production did not differ when mid-late lactation cows on pasture were supplemented with SFC or NFF instead of dry corn.

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