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Effect of rate of substitution of processed, urea-treated whole-crop wheat for grass silage on the intake, milk production and diet digestibility in dairy cows and ruminal metabolism in vitro



Effect of rate of substitution of processed, urea-treated whole-crop wheat for grass silage on the intake, milk production and diet digestibility in dairy cows and ruminal metabolism in vitro



Animal 1(4): 601-611



The effect of rate of substitution of processed, urea-treated whole-crop wheat (pWCW) for grass silage on intake, performance and whole-tract digestibility was evaluated using 44 dairy cows. Cows received 10.5 kg of concentrates per day and one of the following forage mixtures (dry matter (DM) basis): grass silage alone (W-0); 0.75 grass silage, 0.25 pWCW (W-25); 0.5 grass silage, 0.5 pWCW (W-50) or 0.25 grass silage, 0.75 pWCW (W-75). Forage DM intake increased linearly with inclusion rate of pWCW from 9.7 kg DM per day in cows fed W-0 to 14.6 kg DM per day in W-75. By contrast, milk and protein yield (kg/day) were higher (P < 0.05) in cows receiving W-25 compared with W-0, but there was no effect (P>0.05) of treatment on fat yield (kg/day). From week 11 of the experiment onwards, body condition score increased with rate of inclusion of pWCW (P < 0.05). Whole-tract apparent digestibility of organic matter (OM) and fibre (kg/kg), decreased linearly with rate of inclusion of pWCW. Assuming a constant digestibility of starch in the other diet components, the apparent digestibility of starch in pWCW was 0.95 kg/kg and was not affected by rate of inclusion (P>0.05). Four continuous culture vessels were used to determine the effect of rate of inclusion of pWCW on ruminal metabolism in four periods, each of 14 d duration with sampling conducted on days 9 to 14. Vessel ammonia concentration increased linearly (P < 0.05) with rate of inclusion of pWCW whilst mean pH tended (P = 0.06) to decrease. The ratio of acetate to propionate increased from 2.5 in vessels receiving W-0 to 3.2 in those receiving W-75 (P < 0.001). There was no effect (P>0.05) of treatment on digestibility (g/g) of OM, fibre or starch or microbial protein flow (g/day). It is concluded that forage DM intake increased linearly with rate of inclusion of pWCW, but there was no further improvement in milk yield from inclusion rates above 0.25 of the forage DM, with body condition score increasing instead. Increasing the inclusion rate of pWCW resulted in a more ketogenic volatile fatty acid profile but did not affect the efficiency of microbial protein synthesis when determined in vitro.

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Accession: 013053838

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 22444417

DOI: 10.1017/s1751731107689757


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