Replacing corn silage with different forage millet silage cultivars: effects on milk yield, nutrient digestion, and ruminal fermentation of lactating dairy cows
Brunette, T.; Baurhoo, B.; Mustafa, A.F.
Journal of Dairy Science 97(10): 6440-6449
ISSN/ISBN: 1525-3198 PMID: 25108857 DOI: 10.3168/jds.2014-7998
This study investigated the effects of dietary replacement of corn silage (CS) with 2 cultivars of forage millet silages [i.e., regular millet (RM) and sweet millet (SM)] on milk production, apparent total-tract digestibility, and ruminal fermentation characteristics of dairy cows. Fifteen lactating Holstein cows were used in a replicated 3 × 3 Latin square experiment and fed (ad libitum) a high-forage total mixed ration (68:32 forage:concentrate ratio). Dietary treatments included CS (control), RM, and SM diets. Experimental silages constituted 37% of each diet DM. Three ruminally fistulated cows were used to determine the effect of dietary treatments on ruminal fermentation and total-tract nutrient utilization. Relative to CS, RM and SM silages contained 36% more crude protein, 66% more neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and 88% more acid detergent fiber. Cows fed CS consumed more dry matter (DM; 24.4 vs. 22.7 kg/d) and starch (5.7 vs. 3.7 kg/d), but less NDF (7.9 vs. 8.7 kg/d) than cows fed RM or SM. However, DM, starch and NDF intakes were not different between forage millet silage types. Feeding RM relative to CS reduced milk yield (32.7 vs. 35.2 kg/d), energy-corrected milk (35.8 vs. 38.0 kg/d) and SCM (32.7 vs. 35.3 kg/d). However, cows fed SM had similar milk, energy-corrected milk, and solids-corrected milk yields than cows fed CS or RM. Milk efficiency was not affected by dietary treatments. Milk protein concentration was greatest for cows fed CS, intermediate for cows fed SM, and lowest for cows fed RM. Milk concentration of solids-not-fat was lesser, whereas milk urea nitrogen was greater for cows fed RM than for those fed CS. However, millet silage type had no effect on milk solids-not-fat and milk urea nitrogen levels. Concentrations of milk fat, lactose and total solids were not affected by silage type. Ruminal pH and ruminal NH3-N were greater for cows fed RM and SM than for cows fed CS. Total-tract digestibility of DM (average=67.9%), NDF (average=53.9%), crude protein (average=63.3%), and gross energy (average=67.9%) were not influenced by dietary treatments. It was concluded that cows fed CS performed better than those fed RM or SM likely due to the higher starch and lower NDF intakes. However, no major differences were noted between the 2 forage millet silage cultivars.