Replacing the forage portion of the ration with triticale hay improves the performance of Holstein dairy cows

Ashkvaria, A.; Rouzbehana, Y.; Rezaeia, J.; Bostanib, A.

Journal of Dairy Science 2023


ISSN/ISBN: 1525-3198
PMID: 38135041
Accession: 090858001

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The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of replacing the forage portion (alfalfa, corn silage, and barley straw) in the diet of lactating Holstein cows with triticale hay (TH, × Triticosecale L.) on DMI, digestibility, ruminal fermentation variables, estimated microbial N synthesis (EMNS), and milk production and composition. Eight Holstein cows were used in a replicated Latin square design (2 4 × 4 squares) with 4 28-d periods and 4 treatments including a TH-free diet (control), and diets replacing 33%, 66%, and 100% of the forage portion with TH. Cows were fed ad libitum with 10% carryover during the experimental periods. Intakes and in vivo digestibilities of DM, OM, CP, and ash-free NDF, rumen pH, ammonia-N, total and individual short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), protozoa, and bacteria populations were evaluated using specific methods. Moreover, in vitro total gas and methane release and in vivo urinary purine derivatives, EMNS, milk production, and composition were measured. The results showed that TH diets lowered DMI, compared with the control. Apparent digestibilities of DM, OM, CP, and NDF increased with dietary TH inclusion. The addition of TH instead of the diet forage portion increased in vivo rumen pH, acetic, propionic, valeric, and isovaleric acids concentrations, cellulolytic bacteria number, and in vitro gas production. In vivo rumen ammonia-N, SCFA, butyric acid, in vivo and in vitro total protozoa and Entodiniinae numbers, and in vitro methane production decreased with increasing dietary levels of TH instead of the forage portion. The dietary addition of TH did not affect milk yield, protein, and lactose, but increased FCM, milk fat, FCM-to-DMI ratio, and milk yield-to-DMI ratio. Milk urea N decreased, but urinary purine-derivatives excretion and EMNS increased with increasing levels of TH in the diet. For variables with significant changes, except for isovaleric acid, there was a linear response of animals to increasing levels of TH in the diet. Results suggest that TH, which is grown with less water compared with alfalfa, corn forage, and straw, is a potential alternative to those forages by increasing milk production efficiency, milk fat, and decreasing methane emission.