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J Dairy Sci. 2002 May;85(5):1165-75.

Effect of concentrate level and feeding management on chewing activities, saliva production, and ruminal pH of lactating dairy cows.

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Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.


Eight ruminally cannulated lactating Holstein cows were used in a double 4 x 4 Latin square to determine the effects of 1) proportion of barley silage [40, 50, and 60% of dry matter (DM)] in the diet, and 2) feeding a total mixed ration (TMR) compared with separate ingredients (SI) on chewing activities, saliva production, and ruminal pH. Although cows fed SI were offered a diet containing 50% silage, they actually consumed a diet containing 43% silage (DM basis). Dry matter intake and milk yield were similar for all diets (18.2 kg of DM/d and 27.2 kg/d, respectively). Cows fed the 40% silage TMR spent more time eating than cows fed SI (243 vs. 198 min/d), but rumination time was similar (546 min/d). Eating time was similar among the TMR diets, but rumination time increased from 498 to 516 and 584 min/d as silage in the TMR increased from 40 to 50, and then to 60%, respectively. The secretion of saliva per gram of feed was 4.43, 3.18, and 1.19 ml/g of DM with consumption of silage, TMR, and concentrate, respectively. Resting salivation rate was similar for all diets (101 ml/min). Regardless of the diet, cows secreted 239 +/- 17 L/d of saliva, and ruminal pH was below 5.8 for 10 h/d. Results indicated increased chewing time did not increase total daily saliva secretion because increased eating and ruminating saliva was associated with decreased resting saliva. Feeding SI increased the risk of acidosis, because cows ate a higher proportion of concentrate than intended.

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