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The influence of a formulated excess of rumen degradable protein or undegradable protein on milk production in dairy cows in early lactation

The influence of a formulated excess of rumen degradable protein or undegradable protein on milk production in dairy cows in early lactation

Animal Production 46(1): 13-22

Following a 3-week covariance period, 30 group-housed dairy cows were individually given one of three diets from week 4 to week 13 of lactation to determine any possible advantage in milk yield and production of feeding levels of undegradable protein (+UDP) or rumen-degradable protein (+RDP) above the minimum levels (control) proposed by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC, 1984). The three concentrates given were formulated to be of equivalent metabolizable energy (ME, 13.5 MJ/kg dry matter (DM)) concentration and each consisted of rolled barley plus a protein supplement: control (crude protein (CP), 129 g/kg DM) 0.35 kg DM fish meal per day; +UDP (CP, 167 g/kg DM) 1.0 kg DM fish meal per day; and +RDP (CP, 167 g/kg DM) 1.5 kg DM soya per day. For each group the total 'concentrate' allowance per animal per day was 11.6 kg fresh weight and was given in three equal feeds. Grass silage (CP 122 g/kg DM, ME 10.6 MJ/kg DM) was given ad libitum. For the control, +UDP and +RDP treatments, respectively, mean grass silage intakes were 8.29, 8.62 and 8.65 kg/day and mean milk yields were 26.6, 26.3 and 26.1 kg/day. These were not significantly different (P > 0.05). Milk fat concentration was lower (P < 0.05) for the +UDP treatment (36.4 g/kg) in comparison with the control (38.6 g/kg) or the +RDP treatment (39.7 g/kg) but no other milk constituent was significantly influenced by treatment. There was a trend for a greater live-weight gain with treatment +UDP (0.81 kg/day) compared with the other two treatments (control 0.50, +RDP 0.51 kg/day) but there were no differences in condition-score change between treatments. In this trial there was no advantage to feeding formulated levels of UDP or RDP above those proposed by ARC (1984).

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Accession: 001977614

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DOI: 10.1017/S0003356100003056

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