Effects of pattern of concentrate feeding on milk production of dairy cows offered silage ad libitum

Rijpkema, Y.S.; Reeuwijk, L.V.; Goedhart, P.W.

Netherlands Journal of Agricultural Science 38(3B): 461-474


ISSN/ISBN: 0028-2928
Accession: 002092166

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In three 24-week experiments beginning at week 4 post partum, a system of concentrate feeding at a flat level was compared with feeding concentrates to milk yield (Experiments 1 and 2), or with a high-low 2-step system in which the rate was reduced after week 12 (Experiment 3). Roughage was offered ad libitum. In Experiment 1 two types of concentrates were involved whereas in Experiment 3 two levels of concentrates were applied. The systems were evaluated with high levels of concentrates and with Friesian and Holstein-Friesian cows producing about 7000 kg milk per lactation. Experiments 1 and 3 involved 64 and Experiment 2 32 cows. In the comparison between feeding strategies, differences in yield and composition of milk were of minor importance except for milk protein content on the moderate quality grass silage diet (Experiment 1). Milk production tended to be higher for concentrates including fishmeal, in contrast to soybeanmeal, particularly so in the first half of the experimental period. However, milk fat content was significantly lower resulting in similar productions of 4% fat-corrected milk (4% FCM). Extra concentrates in Experiment 3 had significant positive effects on production of milk, fat and protein, and also on milk protein content and body weight gain. Feeding strategy however was without any significant effect. It was concluded that with high yielding cows, offered roughages to appetite, there is no need to feed concentrates strictly to their estimated individual energy requirements. This may be of increasing importance when forage allowances per cow increase as a consequence of smaller number of cows per farm.