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Effect of the level of concentrate supplementation, herbage allowance and milk yield at turn-out on the performance of dairy cows in mid lactation at grazing

  • L. Delaby, J. L. Peyraud and R. Delagarde


In order to establish the response of dairy cow performance to concentrate supplementation in contrasting grazing conditions and for cows differing in milk yield at turn-out, three experiments were conducted. Each year, two levels of herbage allowance were studied in interaction with four (experiment 1) or three (experiments 2 and 3) levels of concentrate on two groups of 30 to 40 mid-lactation Holstein cows producing between 20 and 46 kg milk at turnout. Amount of concentrate and herbage allowance ranged from 0 to 6 kg fresh weight and from 12 to 22 kg dry matter (DM) per cow per day respectively. The supplementation led to average responses, per kg DM concentrate, of 104 kg milk, +66 g/day body-weight gain, +0·19 g/kg milk protein and -0·57 g/kg milk fat. These responses remained linear up to 4 or 6 kg according to the years and treatments. The response to the concentrate did not vary with the milk yield or composition at turn-out. The increase in the herbage allowance from 12 to 16 kg DM per cow per day (experiment 1) improved milk yield (+1·2 kg/day) and milk protein (+0·7 g/kg) while the increase from 16 to 22 kg DM (experiments 2 and 3) had less effect (+0·5 kg/day milk yield and +0·4 g/kg milk protein). There was no clear interaction between concentrate supplementation and herbage allowance. Under the usual conditions of spring pasture, with cows in mid lactation, the use of a constant level of concentrate at grazing proves to be a technique of some interest.


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Effect of the level of concentrate supplementation, herbage allowance and milk yield at turn-out on the performance of dairy cows in mid lactation at grazing

  • L. Delaby, J. L. Peyraud and R. Delagarde


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