Effects of corn silage hybrids and dietary nonforage fiber sources on feed intake, digestibility, ruminal fermentation, and productive performance of lactating Holstein dairy cows
Holt, M.S.; Williams, C.M.; Dschaak, C.M.; Eun, J.-S.; Young, A.J.
Journal of Dairy Science 93(11): 5397-5407
This experiment was conducted to determine the effects of corn silage hybrids and nonforage fiber sources (NFFS) in high forage diets formulated with high dietary proportions of alfalfa hay (AH) and corn silage (CS) on ruminal fermentation and productive performance by early lactating dairy cows. Eight multiparous Holstein cows (4 ruminally fistulated) averaging 36±6.2 d in milk were used in a duplicated 4 × 4 Latin square design experiment with a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments. Cows were fed 1 of 4 dietary treatments during each of the four 21-d replicates. Treatments were (1) conventional CS (CCS)-based diet without NFFS, (2) CCS-based diet with NFFS, (3) brown midrib CS (BMRCS)-based diet without NFFS, and (4) BMRCS-based diet with NFFS. Diets were isonitrogenous and isocaloric. Sources of NFFS consisted of ground soyhulls and pelleted beet pulp to replace a portion of AH and CS in the diets. In vitro 30-h neutral detergent fiber (NDF) degradability was greater for BMRCS than for CCS (42.3 vs. 31.2%). Neither CS hybrids nor NFFS affected intake of dry matter (DM) and nutrients. Digestibility of N, NDF, and acid detergent fiber tended to be greater for cows consuming CCS-based diets. Milk yield was not influenced by CS hybrids and NFFS. However, a tendency for an interaction between CS hybrids and NFFS occurred, with increased milk yield due to feeding NFFS with the BMRCS-based diet. Yields of milk fat and 3.5% fat-corrected milk decreased when feeding the BMRCS-based diet, and a tendency existed for an interaction between CS hybrids and NFFS because milk fat concentration further decreased by feeding NFFS with BMRCS-based diet. Although feed efficiency (milk/DM intake) was not affected by CS hybrids and NFFS, an interaction was found between CS hybrids and NFFS because feed efficiency increased when NFFS was fed only with BMRCS-based diet. Total volatile fatty acid production and individual molar proportions were not affected by diets. Dietary treatments did not influence ruminal pH profiles, except that duration (h/d) of pH <5.8 decreased when NFFS was fed in a CCS-based diet but not in a BMRCS-based diet, causing a tendency for an interaction between CS hybrids and NFFS. Overall measurements in our study reveal that high forage NDF concentration (20% DM on average) may eliminate potentially positive effects of BMRCS. In the high forage diets, NFFS exerted limited effects on productive performance when they replaced AH and CS. Although the high quality AH provided adequate NDF (38.3% DM) for optimal rumen fermentative function, the low NDF concentration of the AH and the overall forage particle size reduced physically effective fiber and milk fat concentration.