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Effect of water addition on selective consumption (sorting) of dry diets by dairy cattle

Effect of water addition on selective consumption (sorting) of dry diets by dairy cattle

Journal of Dairy Science 88(3): 1043-1049

The objective of this study was to determine whether adding water to a dry diet would reduce sorting and improve cow performance. Eighteen multiparous lactating Holstein cows were used in a cross-over design with 21-d periods. Treatments had the same dietary composition and differed only by adding water (WET) or not (DRY). Diets consisted of 10% alfalfa silage, 30% hay (approximately 80% grass and 20% alfalfa), and 60% concentrate [dry matter (DM) basis]. Dietary DM was 80.8% for DRY and 64.4% for WET. Both diets contained 16.9% crude protein and 24.3% neutral detergent fiber. Particle size was determined using the Wisconsin Particle Size Separator on the as-fed diets. The separator has five square-hole screens (Y(1) to Y(5)) with diagonal openings of 26.9 mm for Y(1), 18 mm for Y(2), 8.98 mm for Y(3), 5.61 mm for Y(4), and 1.65 mm for Y(5), and one pan. Sorting was calculated on a 60 degrees C DM basis (60DM). Predicted intake of Y(i) was calculated as the product of 60DM intake (60DMI) and the 60DM fraction of Y(i) in the total mixed ration for that screen. For DRY and WET, actual 60DMI by screen expressed as a percentage of predicted intake was 61.4% vs. 75.2% for Y(1), 83.8% vs. 98.6% for Y(2), 85.6% vs. 90.8% for Y(3), 95.2% vs. 96.0% for Y(4), 100.1% vs. 101.9% for Y(5), and 105.9% vs. 102.9% for pan, respectively. Adding water did not affect total DM intake (28.3 kg/d) or milk production (41.3 kg/d). Neutral detergent fiber intake was 6.42 kg/d for WET and 6.15 kg/d for DRY. Milk fat percentage tended to be higher (3.41% vs. 3.31%) when cows consumed WET vs. DRY. No differences in ruminal pH, NH(3), and volatile fatty acids were observed. Cows sorted against long particles in favor of shorter particles on both diets. Adding water to dry diets reduced sorting and tended to increase neutral detergent fiber intake and milk fat percentage.

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Accession: 013113121

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PMID: 15738239

DOI: 10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(05)72772-7

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