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The interaction between dietary fibre level and protein degradability in dairy cows

  • P. C. Garnsworthy (a1)

Abstract

A trial was performed to investigate the interaction between energy and protein source for cows in negative energy balance. Six cows were assigned to each of four types of concentrate (metabolizable energy (ME) 12 MJ/kg dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP) 180 g/kg DM) with low or high fibre contents (LF or HF) and protein degradability (LD or HD). For groups HDLF, LDLF, HDHF and LDHF respectively, acid-detergent fibre contents (g/kg diet DM) were 69·2, 66·1, 117·5 and 113·3; protein degradability values were determined as 0·78, 0·61, 0·72 and 0·66. Low-fibre diets were given at the rate of 11 kg/day concentrates with 6 kg/day hay (ME 8 MJ/kg DM, CP 84·5 g/kg DM) and high-fibre diets at the rate of 10 kg/day concentrates with 7·5 kg/day hay from weeks 4 to 13 of lactation. Cows were given a standard diet over the first 3 weeks of lactation and performance in week 3 was used as a covariate.

Milk yield was not affected by treatment but the butterfat content of milk from cows given the high-fibre diets (44·9 g/kg) was higher than the low-fibre diets (36·4 g/kg; P < 0·01), which resulted in significant differences in fat-corrected milk yield (HDHF: 25·1, LDHF: 26·2, HDLF: 22·7, LDLF: 21·5, s.e.d. 1·5 kg/day). ME balance was lower for the LDHF group (−4·1 MJ/day) than for groups LDLF and HDLF (-15·4 and -16·8 MJ/day; P < 0·05) but was not significantly different from the HDHF group (-29·4 MJ/day). Undegradable protein (UDP) balances were 53·4, 93·8, -21·2 and 193·8 (s.e.d. 45, P < 005) g/day for groups HDLF, LDLF, HDHF and LDHF respectively. Differences from zero in ME and UDP balance were accounted for in all groups except LDHF by changes in live weight plus a systematic correction of approximately 10 MJ/day. It is considered that the cows given high-fibre diets responded to high UDP by increasing fat-corrected milk production but mobilization of body fat to support this increase was accompanied by retention of protein with associated water, resulting in very little change in live weight. It is also probable that the high UDP levels improved the digestion of fibre i n the rumen, but this is unlikely to have been sufficient to have accounted for all of the response.

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References

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The interaction between dietary fibre level and protein degradability in dairy cows

  • P. C. Garnsworthy (a1)

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