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Effect of cutting time on yield and quality of grass and on silage intake and milk production in dairy cows



Effect of cutting time on yield and quality of grass and on silage intake and milk production in dairy cows



Beretning fra Faellesudvalget for Statens Planteavls- og Husdyrbrugsforsog (15): 1-37



The effects of varying the stage of cutting of perrenial ryegrass and cocksfoot on grass production, conservation and food intake and yield of dairy cows were studied over a 4 year period, perennial ryegrass for 3 years and cocksfoot for one. The silage quality of early harvested cocksfoot became poor, and the conclusions of the experiments are largely based on the experiments with perennial ryegrass. First cut was taken on three different dates with nearly 2 weeks interval. With early, medium and late first cut 5, 4 and 3 cuts, respectively, were taken over the complete growing season. N-fertilization to the single cuts was varied according to expected yield, but the total amount of N over the whole season was equal. The grass was wilted before ensiling, and no additives were used. The net yield of dry matter (after subtraction of losses during harvest and ensiling) in first cut was 3.0 t, 5.1 t and 6.5 t per ha at early, medium and late harvest, respectively, and the total net yield over the season was 10.5 t, 11.2 t and 11.2 t per ha, respectively. The total net yield of Scandinavian feed units over the season was 9140, 8701 and 7846 per ha with 5, 4 and 3 cuts, respectively. The digestibility (DOM) of the early, medium and late cut silage from the primary growth was 82, 73 and 67%, respectively. Feeding experiments with cows in early to midlactation were carried out with the three silages from the first cut. Silage was fed ad libitum. For each type of silage three amounts of concentrate, 3.5, 6.5, and 9.5 kg DM pe cow per day, were given in nine treatments. A 3 .times. 3 factorial design was used in continuous, complete randomized block experiments with a total of 204 dairy cows. The daily intake of grass silage per cow increased by 0.08-0.12 kg DM per unit increase in organic matter digestibility. The daily silage intake fell by 0.40-0.50 kg DN for each extra kg concentrate DM given. The highest substitution rate (0.50) was found at the highest digestibility of the silage and the lowest (0.40) at the lowest digestibility. No curvelinearity could be shown within the amounts of concentrates used. For each 5-6 days the cutting was delayed, one kg concentrate DM more should be fed per cow per day in order to reach the same intake of net energy. The relationship between the daily milk yield (kg of energy corrected milk (ECM) = y), the digestibility of the grass silage (DOM = x1) and the amount of concentrate (kg DM per cow per day = x2) could be described by the following equations: y= -16.5 + 0.431 x1 + 2.99 x2 - 0.668 x22 - 0.0196 x1x2; R2 = 0.93; s = 0.92; P for b1, b2, b3 and b4 = 0.0001, 0.0088, 0.15 and 0.11, respectively. The daily yield increased by 0.36-0.24 kg ECM per unit increase in DOM depending on the level of concentrate. Because of the diminishing return by increasing amounts and proportions of concentrates, the same level of milk yield could not be reached by use of silage with low digestibility as with that of high quality grass silage.

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Accession: 002081014

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