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Effects of grain processing, forage to concentrate ratio, and forage particle size on rumen pH and digestion by dairy cows



Effects of grain processing, forage to concentrate ratio, and forage particle size on rumen pH and digestion by dairy cows



Journal of Dairy Science 84(10): 2203-2216



Dietary factors that alter the intake of effective fiber were evaluated for their effects on rumen fermentation, digestion, and milk production using a double 4 x 4 quasi-Latin square design with a 2(3) factorial arrangement of treatments. The dietary factors were extent of barley grain processing, coarse (1.60 mm) or flat (1.36 mm); forage-to-concentrate (F:C) ratio, low (35:65) or high (55:45) (dry matter basis); and forage particle length, long (7.59 mm) or short (6.08 mm). Eight lactating cows with ruminal and duodenal cannulas were offered ad libitum access to a total mixed diet and milked twice daily. Dry matter intake was increased by increasing the extent of grain processing. Mean rumen pH was lower for cows fed flatly rolled barley than for cows fed coarsely rolled barley, whereas F:C ratio or forage particle size had no effect on rumen pH. Rumen pH was not correlated with effective NDF intake but tended to be correlated with digestibility of starch in the rumen. Total tract digestibilities of dry matter, organic matter, starch, and neutral detergent fiber were increased by feeding flatly rolled barley or low F:C ratio diets. Milk yield and milk protein content were higher in cows fed flatly rolled barley or low F:C ratio diets. Milk fat content tended to increase with high F:C ratio or long forage particle length but was reduced by feeding flatly rolled barley. In this study, extent of grain processing and intake of ruminal available starch were the most influential factors affecting milk production. Reducing the ratio of F:C improved total digestion and actual milk production. Forage particle length had minimal impact on digestibility and milk production.

Accession: 003742008

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 11699452

DOI: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(01)74667-X

Download PDF Full Text: Effects of grain processing, forage to concentrate ratio, and forage particle size on rumen pH and digestion by dairy cows



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