Feeding dairy cows during the first part of lactation. I. Comparison of ad libitum versus restricted feeding of hay and concentrate

Wiktorsson, H.

Swedish Journal of Agricultural Research 3(4): 153-160


Accession: 000093003

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20 Swedish Red-and-White cows in more than or equal to 3rd lactation were divided into 2 groups, 10 controls (i) and 10 experimental (ii), according to milk yield of the previous lactation, body wt. and age. During the 3-wk pre-calving period (i) were fed 7 kg hay/day, and (ii) hay ad lib. Both groups were given concentrates (80% crushed oats and barley, 7% cotton seed cake, 4% groundnut meal, 4% rape seed meal and 5% soya bean meal), starting at 1.5 kg/day and increased continuously to approx. 5.5 kg at calving. For 8 wk after calving (i) were fed 7 kg hay + concentrates according to milk yield, (except for the first 2 wk when concentrates were increased daily by 0.4 kg) and (ii), hay and concentrates ad lib., although the latter were not increased by more than 1 kg/day. During the 1st 8 wk of lactation, (ii) consumed on average more hay and less concentrates (P < 0.001) than (i). There was no significant differences in total DM or metabolizable energy consumed. Graphs illustrate the significantly higher coeff. of variation in (ii) for food consumption and milk yield. Average daily milk yield during the experiment was 2.3 kg less or 1.9 kg less 4% FCM than (i) (P < 0.01). There was no significant difference in milk fat %. The coeff. of variation for DM consumption and for daily milk yield were correlated significantly (P < 0.001) for both (i) and (ii). The cows in (ii) were more frequently "off-feed", these disturbances being reflected in the high coeff. of variation and the decreased milk yield of (ii) which amount to 120 kg/cow over the 8-wk experiment.o.