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J Dairy Sci. 2003 Jan;86(1):174-83.

Effects of corn grain conservation method on feeding behavior and productivity of lactating dairy cows at two dietary starch concentrations.

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Department of Animal Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824-1225, USA.


Effects of conservation method of corn grain and dietary starch concentration on dry matter intake (DMI) and productivity of lactating dairy cows were evaluated. Eight ruminally and duodenally cannulated Holstein cows (55 +/- 15.9 d in milk; mean +/- SD) were used in a duplicated 4 x 4 Latin square design with a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement of treatments. Experimental diets contained either ground high-moisture corn (HM) or dry ground corn (DG) at two dietary starch concentrations (32 vs 21%). Mean particle size and dry matter (DM) concentration of corn grain were 1863 pm and 63.2%, and 885 microm and 89.7%, for HM and DG, respectively. DMI was lower for HM compared to DG treatment in high-starch diets (20.8 vs 22.5 kg/d), but similar for the HM and DG treatments in low-starch diets (19.7 vs 19.6 kg/d). This reduction in DMI is attributed to smaller meal size for HM compared to DG in high-starch diets (1.9 vs 2.3 kg of DM for high-starch diets; 2.1 vs 2.0 kg of DM for low-starch diets). Faster starch fermentation for HM in high-starch diets might result in satiety with smaller meal size. Milk yield was greater when cows were fed high-starch diets compared to low-starch diets (38.6 vs 33.9 kg/d) regardless of corn grain treatment. High-starch diets increased solids-corrected milk yield by 3.3 kg (35.2 vs 31.9 kg/d) compared to low-starch diets for cows fed DG, but did not increase for cows fed HM. This was because of a lower milk fat concentration for cows fed HM in high-starch diets. Reducing ruminal starch fermentation by substituting DG for HM can increase the productivity of lactating cows fed high-starch diets.

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