Section 14
Chapter 13,116

Effects of addition of essential oils and monensin premix on digestion, ruminal fermentation, milk production, and milk composition in dairy cows

Benchaar, C.; Petit, H.V.; Berthiaume, R.; Whyte, T.D.; Chouinard, P.Y.

Journal of Dairy Science 89(11): 4352-4364


ISSN/ISBN: 1525-3198
PMID: 17033023
DOI: 10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(06)72482-1
Accession: 013115443

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Four ruminally cannulated, lactating Holstein cows were used in a 4 x 4 Latin square design (28-d periods) with a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement of treatments to study the effects of dietary addition of essential oils (0 vs. 2 g/d; EO) and monensin (0 vs. 350 mg/d; MO) on digestion, ruminal fermentation characteristics, milk production, and milk composition. Intake of dry matter averaged 22.7 kg/d and was not significantly affected by dietary additives. Apparent digestibilities of dry matter, organic matter, neutral detergent fiber, and starch were similar among treatments. Apparent digestibility of acid detergent fiber was increased when diets were supplemented with EO (48.9 vs. 46.0%). Apparent digestibility of crude protein was higher for cows fed MO compared with those fed no MO (65.0 vs. 63.6%). Nitrogen retention was not changed by additive treatments and averaged 27.1 g/d across treatments. Ruminal pH was increased with the addition of EO (6.50 vs. 6.39). Ruminal ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N) concentration was lower with MO-supplemented diets compared with diets without MO (12.7 vs. 14.3 mg/100 mL). No effect of EO and MO was observed on total volatile fatty acid concentrations and molar proportions of individual volatile fatty acids. Protozoa counts were not affected by EO and MO addition. Production of milk and 4% fat-corrected milk was similar among treatments (33.6 and 33.4 kg/d, respectively). Milk fat content was lower for cows fed MO than for cows fed diets without MO (3.8 vs. 4.1%). The reduced milk fat concentration in cows fed MO was associated with a higher level of trans-10 18:1, a potent inhibitor of milk fat synthesis. Milk urea nitrogen concentration was increased by MO supplementation, but this effect was not apparent when MO was fed in combination with EO (interaction EO x MO). Results from this study suggest that feeding EO (2 g/d) and MO (350 mg/d) to lactating dairy cows had limited effects on digestion, ruminal fermentation characteristics, milk production, and milk composition.

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