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J Dairy Sci. 2014 Dec;97(12):7706-15. doi: 10.3168/jds.2014-7961. Epub 2014 Sep 26.

Effects of alfalfa and cereal straw as a forage source on nutrient digestibility and lactation performance in lactating dairy cows.

Author information

1
Institute of Dairy Science, MoE Key Laboratory of Molecular Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, P. R. China.
2
College of Animal Science and Technology, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, P. R. China.
3
State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100094, P. R. China.
4
Institute of Dairy Science, MoE Key Laboratory of Molecular Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, P. R. China. Electronic address: liujx@zju.edu.cn.

Erratum in

  • J Dairy Sci. 2015 Jan;98(1):719.

Abstract

This study was conducted to investigate the nutrient digestibility and lactation performance when alfalfa was replaced with rice straw or corn stover in the diet of lactating cows. Forty-five multiparous Holstein dairy cows were blocked based on days in milk (164 ± 24.8 d; mean ± standard deviation) and milk yield (29.7 ± 4.7 kg; mean ± standard deviation) and were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatments. Diets were isonitrogenous, with a forage-to-concentrate ratio of 45:55 [dry matter (DM) basis] and contained identical concentrate mixtures and 15% corn silage, with different forage sources (on a DM basis): 23% alfalfa hay and 7% Chinese wild rye hay (AH), 30% corn stover (CS), and 30% rice straw (RS). The experiment was conducted over a 14-wk period, with the first 2 wk for adaptation. The DM intake of the cows was not affected by forage source. Yield of milk, milk fat, protein, lactose, and total solids was higher in cows fed diets of AH than diets of RS or CS, with no difference between RS and CS. Contents of milk protein and total solids were higher in AH than in RS, with no difference between CS and AH or RS. Feed efficiency (milk yield/DM intake) was highest for cows fed AH, followed by RS and CS. Cows fed AH excreted more urinary purine derivatives, indicating that the microbial crude protein yield may be higher for the AH diet than for RS and CS, which may be attributed to the higher content of fermentable carbohydrates in AH than in RS and CS. Total-tract apparent digestibilities of all the nutrients were higher in cows fed the AH diet than those fed CS and RS. The concentration of rumen volatile fatty acids was higher in the AH diet than in CS or RS diets, with no difference between CS and RS diets. When the cereal straw was used to replace alfalfa as a main forage source for lactating cows, the shortage of fermented energy may have reduced the rumen microbial protein synthesis, resulting in lower milk protein yield, and lower nutrient digestibility may have restricted milk production.

KEYWORDS:

forage source; lactation performance; nutrient digestibility

PMID:
25262188
DOI:
10.3168/jds.2014-7961
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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