The influence of cow genetic merit for milk production on response to level of concentrate supplementation in a grass-based system
Kennedy, J.; Dillon, P.; Faverdin, P.; Delaby, L.; Buckley, F.; Rath, M.
Animal Science 75: 433-445
ISSN/ISBN: 1357-7298 DOI: 10.1017/s1357729800053200
The objective of this study was to investigate if there is a genotype-X feeding system interaction for milk production in Holstein-Friesian dairy cows. For this purpose, 48 high genetic merit (HM) and 48 medium genetic merit (AM) dairy cows, were used in a two (genotypes) X three (levels of concentrate feeding) randomized-block design experiment in three consecutive years. In year 1, all animals-were-in their first lactation, while in year 2 and year 3, 18 and 12 first lactation cows replaced animals culled at the. end of the previous lactatiod. A total of, 66 cows remained in the study in the same feeding system for the 3-year duration of the study. Concentrate feeding levels were 376, 810 and 1540 kg per cow per lactation; these were identified as the LC, MC and HC feeding Systems respectively. There was a separate farmlet for each feeding system; farmlets were managed so that pre-grazing and post-grazing herbage height were similar for all three feeding systems. When compared on treatment means there was a significant genotype X feeding system interaction for fat yield, while for mean solid-corrected milk yield the interaction was close to statistical significance (P = 0.07). However, regression coefficients of both milk and protein yield on pedigree index for milk and protein yield were significantly different between. the LC and the HC. The interaction between feeding system and the regression of both on pre-experimental milk and protein yield were close to statistical significance (P = 0.08 and P = 0.09 respectively). Outputs of milkfat, protein and lactose were greater for the HM than the MM cows. Feeding system had a significant effect on milk, fat, protein and lactose yields There was a significant genotype X feeding system interaction for body condition score (BCS) at the end of lactation; the AW cows had a higher rate of body. tissue repletion than the HM. cows especially in the HC system. The results suggest that there is a genotype X concentrate feeding. level interaction and that feeding systems developed in the past for animals of lower genetic merit may require adaptation if they are to be optimal for higher genetic merit animals.