The importance of roughage in the rearing period on the feed intake and performance of adult dairy cows
Hof, G.; Lenaers, P.J.
Livestock Production Science 11(3): 287-302
ISSN/ISBN: 0301-6226 DOI: 10.1016/0301-6226(84)90020-4
The eventual benefits of high roughage intake in the rearing period on performance and roughage acceptance in the 1st lactation were investigated in an experiment with 56 Friesian calves. One group received a high roughage diet, the other a diet with a 4:1 ratio on a dry matter (DM) basis between concentrate and roughage. Both groups were fed according to standards in the rearing period. In both treatments the calves received similar energy and protein levels, allowing a daily growth rate of 0.5 kg day-1 until 9 wk of age and 0.62 kg day-1 thereafter. After calving, the animals were fed according to individual requirements, within the restrictions of the treatments. The high concentrate group received the same ratio between the concentrate and forage proportion as during rearing. The high roughage group received a high quantity of forage fortified with a minimum concentrate supply to meet requirements. After 14 wk of lactation both groups were partly changed to the other treatment for measurements of forage acceptance. Diet concentration did not clearly influence animal performance in the rearing period. The individual differences in feed intake capacity during rearing were only small in the high roughage group. The ranking of DM intake level was affected by age. Two years of training animals for high concentrates did not improve the intake of a concentrated diet after calving. The rearing diet did not influence the feed intake capacity in later lactation. High productive cows presumably cannot be trained for a high roughage acceptance by increasing the bulkiness of their rearing diet.