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J Dairy Sci. 2014 Feb;97(2):1005-15. doi: 10.3168/jds.2013-7183. Epub 2013 Dec 2.

Milk production and composition of mid-lactation cows consuming perennial ryegrass-and chicory-based diets.

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  • 1Department of Environment and Primary Industries, 78 Henna Street, Warrnambool, Victoria 3280, Australia. Electronic address:
  • 2Department of Environment and Primary Industries, 78 Henna Street, Warrnambool, Victoria 3280, Australia.


Dry matter intakes (DMI), nutrient selection, and milk production responses of dairy cows grazing 3 herbage-based diets offered at 2 allowances were measured. The 2 allowances were 20 (low) and 30 (high) kg of dry matter (DM)/cow per day and these were applied to 3 herbage types: perennial ryegrass (PRG) and chicory (CHIC+) monocultures and a mixed sward of chicory and perennial ryegrass (MIX). The CHIC+ diet was supplemented with alfalfa hay (approximately 2 kg of DM/cow per day) to maintain dietary neutral detergent fiber (NDF) concentration and all diets were supplemented with energy-based pellets (6 kg of DM/cow per day). Holstein-Friesian dairy cows averaging 136 ± 30 d in milk were allocated to 4 replicates of the 6 treatments using stratified randomization procedures. Cows were adapted to their experimental diets over a 14-d period, with measurements of DMI, milk yield, and composition conducted over the following 10 d. Herbage DMI was lowest (12.8 vs. 14.0 kg of DM/d) for CHIC+ compared with the MIX and PRG, although total forage intake (grazed herbage plus hay) was similar (14.0 to 15.0 kg of DM/d) across the 3 treatments. Milk production, milk protein, and milk fat concentrations were not different between herbage types. Grazed herbage DMI increased with increasing herbage allowance and this was associated with increased milk protein concentration (3.23 to 3.34%) and total casein production (41.7 to 43.6 mg/g). Concentrations of polyunsaturated fatty acids in milk fat, particularly linoleic acid, were increased in milk from cows offered the CHIC+ or the MIX diets, indicating potential benefits of chicory herbage on milk fatty acid concentrations. Although feeding CHIC+ or MIX did not increase milk yield, these herbage types could be used as an alternative to perennial ryegrass pasture in spring.

Copyright © 2014 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


chicory; milk composition; milk production; perennial ryegrass

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