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Effects of Alfalfa and Brown Mid-rib Corn Silage and Level of Forage Neutral Detergent Fiber on Animal Performance of Lactating Cows in Michigan
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 Title & Authors
Effects of Alfalfa and Brown Mid-rib Corn Silage and Level of Forage Neutral Detergent Fiber on Animal Performance of Lactating Cows in Michigan
Min, Doo-Hong; Bucholtz, Herb; Naasz, Paul;
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Alfalfa silage and corn silage are the major dairy feeds in most dairy operations in Michigan, USA. In recent years, the need to improve digestible fiber and dry matter intake of forages to meet the nutrient requirements of high yielding dairy cows and the willingness to plant corn specifically for silage has led plant breeders to focus on the brown mid-rib (BMR) trait. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of different ratio of alfalfa to BMR corn silage and ration level of forage neutral detergent fiber (NDF) on animal performance of lactating cows in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This study was conducted at the Upper Peninsula Experiment Station of Michigan State University in Chatham, Michigan, USA. Two different ratios of forage type (high alfalfa silage/low BMR corn silage, AS, and high BMR corn silage/low alfalfa silage, BMRCS) and two different dietary NDF contents (27% NDF, 27 = low forage/high grain feeding, and 33% NDF, 33 = high forage/low grain feeding) were used. The experimental design was a Latin Square with 20 milking cows (12 multiparous and 8 primiparous). This trial had four 21-day periods with 14 d adaptation and 7 d data collection. Milk yield and body condition score (BCS) on the AS-27, BMRCS-27 and BMRCS-33 treatments were significantly (p<0.05) higher than on the AS-33 treatment. Dry matter intake of the AS-27 and BMRCS-27 treatments was significantly (p<0.05) higher than for the AS-33 and BMRCS-33 treatments. Milk urea nitrogen (MUN) on the AS-33 treatment was significantly (p<0.05) higher than on the other diet treatments. A key finding of this study was that the BMRCS-33 (higher amounts of brown mid-rib corn silage than alfalfa silage, high forage and low grain feeding diet at 33% NDF) led to the equal highest milk production whilst having the equal lowest dry matter intake. This study demonstrated that the diet with higher ratio of highly digestible NDF forage such as brown mid-rib corn silage to alfalfa silage could lower grain feeding in the ration.
Alfalfa Silage;Brown Mid-rib Corn Silage;Neutral Detergent Fiber;
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