Effect of Particle Size of Forage in the Dairy Ration on Feed Intake, Production Parameters and Quantification of Manure Index

  • Moharrery, A. (Animal Science Department, Agricultural College, Shahrekord University)
  • Received : 2009.07.20
  • Accepted : 2009.10.12
  • Published : 2010.04.01


The objectives of this study were to measure particle size and evaluate the effect of increasing alfalfa hay particle size on production characteristics in lactating Holstein dairy cows. Ninety multiparous Holstein cows in early to mid-lactation were randomly assigned in a complete randomized design for a 30-day period. Animals were offered one of the three diets, which were identical in energy, protein, and chemical composition, but differed only in particle size of alfalfa hay. The treatments were A) total mixed ration (TMR) in which only fine chopped alfalfa hay was incorporated in the ration, B) the same diet in which half of the alfalfa hay was fine chopped and incorporated in the mixed ration and half was long hay and offered as a top dressing, and C) the same diet with long hay alfalfa offered as a top dressing. Distribution of particle size of rations was determined through 20,000, 8,000 and 1,000 ${\mu}m$ sieves. The new method of quantitative determination of manure index was examined for each cow on different treatments. The geometric mean length of particle size in the rations was 5,666, 9,900 and 11,549 ${\mu}m$ for treatments A, B and C, respectively. Fat corrected milk (4%), milk fat percentage and production were significantly different (p<0.05) in treatment A versus B and C (fat corrected milk (FCM, 4%)) 28.3 vs. 35.2 and 32.3 kg/d, fat percentage 2.89, 4.04 and 3.62; but the change of ration particle size had no significant effect on milk production (p>0.05). Blood concentration of cholesterol in treatment A was significantly higher (p<0.05) than treatment B and C (181.0 vs. 150.0 and 155.2 mg/dl). Manure index in treatment C was significantly different (p<0.05) from treatment B (15.86 vs. 17.67). Based on these experimental findings, it is concluded that an increase in the ration particle size can increase milk fat percentage due to providing more physically effective fiber, which in turn could effect changes in manure consistency.


Ration Particle Size;Manure Index;Alfalfa Hay;Lactating Dairy Cows


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