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Efficacy of carbohydrate sources for milk production by cows fed diets based on alfalfa silage

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The effectiveness of three carbohydrate sources, high-moisture ear corn (HMEC), cracked shelled corn (CSC), and a 50:50 mixture of HMEC plus dried citrus pulp (DCP), fed with or without supplemental rumen-undegraded protein as expeller soybean meal (ESBM), was assessed in 48 multiparous dairy cows. All diets contained (dry mater [DM] basis) 50% alfalfa silage, 10% ryegrass silage, 28% NDF, and one of six concentrates: A) 38% HMEC; B) 38% CSC; C) 19% DCP plus 19% HMEC; D) 27% HMEC plus 12% ESBM; E) 27% CSC plus 12% ESBM; or F) 13% DCP, 13% HMEC, and 12% ESBM. Diets A, B, and C averaged 19% crude protein, of which 53% was nonprotein nitrogen (NPN), and diets D, E, and F averaged 22% crude protein, of which 40% was NPN. Cows were fed a high-energy covariate diet for 2 wk, blocked into eight groups of six, based on covariate protein yield, then randomly assigned to diets that were fed for 12 wk. Feeding ESBM increased DM intake, yields of milk, fat-corrected milk, fat, protein, SNF, and milk and blood urea concentration and decreased weight loss. There were no production differences between HMEC and CSC. However, DM intake, yields of milk, fat-corrected milk, fat, protein, lactose, SNF, and milk SNF content all were lower on the diets containing DCP versus HMEC and CSC. A 6 x 6 Latin square trial conducted at the same time with six ruminally cannulated cows showed similar effects of diet on DM intake and milk production. Ruminal ammonia was elevated by ESBM but not ruminal total amino acids and branched-chain volatile fatty acids. Ruminal propionate was highest on HMEC diets and lowest on DCP diets; acetate, butyrate and acetate-to-propionate ratio were lowest on HMEC diets and highest on DCP diets. These results indicated that, compared to HMEC and CSC, feeding the pectin-rich carbohydrate source DCP altered ruminal fermentation but depressed intake and milk production in lactating cows.
Broderick, G.A. , Mertens, D.R. , Simons, R.
Includes references
Journal of dairy science July 2002. v. 85 (7)
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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